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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on April 12, 2014
Not what I was hoping for, so it disappointed me. I hate to give it a bad rating because it might be a good movie if you are into family drama type stuff, just not my cup of tea. Movie arrived in good time and in great condition.
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on November 13, 2002
Let me begin by saying that Monsoon Wedding is an utterly fantastic film. Everything everybody else said to praise the film in their reviews is absolutely correct.
Why am I giving such a terse review and such a low rating, then?
Well, as some of you know, DVDs have a mode where they can disable most of the user controls -- you can't fast forward or search backward, you can't skip to a different chapter, you can't even enter the DVD menu.
Most movies use this strictly for the copyright notice. This doesn't bother me at all.
The Monsoon Wedding DVD, which I just purchased and brought home and sat down with a friend who had never seen the film to watch, uses this mode to force you, each and every time you want to watch your copy of Monsoon Wedding, to watch a trailer for another movie and a commercial for the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack.
Even if you've seen these commercials a thousand times, still, you have to pay your dues and sit through the advertisements before you'll be allowed to watch your movie. Not only can you not skip them, you can't even fast forward through them.
You'll know every word of these commercials as well as you know the movie. In fact, one could say that they've been more or less integrated into the movie by tying the two inextricably, except that at least with the movie you can skip to chapters you like or watch only parts, whereas theres no way around these if you wish to watch the film.
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on June 14, 2006
Mira Nair produced a film which is very entertaining, magical, and realistic in how it portrays the stresses and experiences associated with planning a modern wedding in India. The bride is a college educated beauty who has some liberated ideas and behaviors ... but she is also the the only daughter of her parents, a child of her culture. She agrees to an arranged marriage to the handsome son of a friend of the family... after a failed love affair (first secret in the film) from which she is not yet fully recovered. Aditi feels ready for marriage, so she tells her unmarried female cousin Ria who has some doubts about the matter. The unique traditions of the past are combined with modern touches - the past and present intertwine in unexpected ways to produce a beautiful and creative collage of whacky entertainment. The street scenes filmed in New Delhi symbolically represent the chaotic atmosphere, tensions and pressures of the preparations for a wedding. The plans are to create a joyous celebration ... to be remembered by both families ...and cherished for a lifetime. Family arrived from America, Dubai, and Australia ... to celebrate the blessed union of two young people in marriage.

Lalit Verma, father of the bride takes his role seriously, his personality, character, and approach provide many of the comic and serious touches in the film. He displays extraordinairy sensitivity to a family tragedy that is unexpectedly revealed (the second secret) and takes courageous action to deal with the problem directly. He proves to be a caring, loving father whose integrity ensures the wedding preparations continue as planned, allowing nothing to mar the perfection of the moment. He even asks for a temporary loan from business associates to meet mmediate "cash flow" problems as the costs keep mounting upwards. The casting for all the roles are superb. The music was incorporated into the story of the film, enhancing and emphasizing the emotions in many scenes. There was spontaneous singing during the "mehndi" ceremony when the women paint henna designs on the hands of the bride. There was a haunting solo sung about the bride leaving the loving palace of her father ... to become a stranger to his house forever after marriage. Several enjoyable modern Indian techno sounds exploded throughout the film making the scenes more lively and enjoyable.

Along with the wedding, there are several stories interwoven within the fabric of the film ... The first and most important one is how the wedding plans for Aditi and Hermant could have unravelled after Aditit confessed her secret affair to him. While the two large tents are built in the backyard, garlands of marigolds {"the flower of love") are woven, and the cost of water-proofing the tents is being negotiated - P.K. Dubey, the cell-phone carrying, business entrepeneur wedding event manager, and *bachelor* falls in love with Alice, the young maid and housekeeper for the Verma family. Meanwhile, Varun, Aditi's brother practices a dance he will perform at the 'sangeet' (engagement party?) with Ayesha, a very attractive cousin from Dubai. However, just before the party he clashes with his parents over his future educational plans. They decided he will be sent to a boarding school. Ayesha has been flirting with Rahul, a handsome young relative of the Verma's from Australia. They have even exchanged kisses in the dark. He had witnessed her dance sessions with Varun who now refuses to do the performance. When Rahul will not take Varun's place, one of the older ladies overhears and quotes poetry to him about his failure to rescue a lady in distress. She tells him straight up to get off his @ss ... Some of the most sensitive scenes include Ria, when she clues in on certain behaviors between Uncle Tej and Aleja, a young girl of about 6 or 7. Ria exposes Uncle Tej and at the same time reveals her own shame at having suffered a similar fate as a child. Lalit wrestles with how to handle this delicate situation. He couragously banishes Uncle Tej and his wife from his house. The wedding ceremony is a blessed and dignified event. It turns out to be perfect, a celebration of pure joy ... exactly as planned. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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on August 22, 2015
I received my order only to find that when I went to watch the movie that the DVD did NOT work . The DVD player said "this disc cannot be played on this unit ". I tried to play it on our other DVD player and then my son tried on his but it did not work. He proceeded to bring to my attention that the packaging , particularly on the back of the case was suspicious and appeared to be not authentic (pirated ).

Needless to say I am very disappointed and shocked as I have ordered many movies from Amazon and have NEVER had a problem . Not sure where to go from here but thought Amazon should know as well as anyone who is thinking of ordering this DVD .
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on July 12, 2004
I rented this movie and enjoyed it so much that I immediately rewound it and watched it again; now THAT'S a first! And it was even better the second time around, as I didn't have to concentrate so hard for fear of missing something.
Cross-cultural/generational and traditional vs. modern themes have always been a favorite of mine, but here these ideas are explored in layered levels, w/ all of their subtle complexities. There is nothing hackneyed in this presentation. There are various subplots weaving throughout, carrying the viewer through many twists and turns at a perfect pace. Observing the wedding planner Dubey (Vijay Raaz) as he falls in love is especially sweet and charming and funny. Yet this film is by no means a frivolous fluff piece. It has its dramatic and unexpected moments, which serve to enrich one's understanding and empathy for the characters involved.
Oh, and did I mention that the music is delightful? Can't wait to get my copy of the soundtrack (it's on order) to play in the car. I'm also eager to view some of Mira Nair's other films, since she certainly did a superb job with "Monsoon Wedding".
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on April 27, 2004
This was the first film I saw directed by Mira Nair, and produced by her production company, MiraBai films. I had heard a great deal about her films, Salaam Bombay! (which I still need to see), Mississippi Masala (another beautiful treasure of a film that I plan to review on, The Perez Family and Kama Sutra. I was so happy to see this film for so many reasons. For starters, visually, it was beautiful to watch, and very engaging. Everything from the street scenes in the market of New Delhi with shots of young boys selling coconut slices, vibrant saris in multitudes of color, and beautiful shots of the architecture held my attention. The story was a great one, too. It was a real glimpse into the lives of two families coming together for a wedding celebration, and all of the baggage, controversy and eclectic friends that come along for the ride. The young couple is brought together through arranged marriage, and are just meeting about two to three days before the wedding is to take place. The young groom is a successful, handsome, intelligent and sensitive computer scientist form Houston, Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), and his bride is a young professional, Aditi (Vashundhara Das), who is caught between two worlds--the modern, more western world that says she can engage in premarital sex, keep a full time job, and even continue to sleep with her still-married boyfriend, and the world of traditional Indian values, that include the importance of familial closeness and arranged marriages. What world will she choose to live in? You have to rent this fine film to find out. Also, the subplots that are finely intertwined with the main story about the wedding preparations are very engaging. One is about the importance of redemption, and the other, about love's power to transform.
Don't miss it!
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on February 25, 2004
So far as my own point of view goes Mira Nair was quite at an advantage since the last film of her's that I'd seen was 'Cumasutra: A Tale of Lewd' after which any effort would have been an improvement. I do not intend to say here that I liked the film, but I certainly could not dislike it as much as that earlier piece. As for the question of the film bagging Venice's Golden Lion, I will say that it was entirely because of a western audience delighting in the exotic-ness of a third-world film interpretation of the Hollywood/British ensemble romantic comedy.
The film shoots itself in the foot at an early stage with its pathetic attempts at thrill humor (women comparing breast sizes, smart-ass children spying adults naked, an incongruous sequence of a TV debate on censorship where a fat dubbing artiste is called in to recreate the dialogue of a copulation sequence). The plot revolves around a wedding in a rich n' loud Punjabi family whose sundry members include a worried Father-of-the-Bride, his wife, the daughter who's having an affair with a married man, assorted sexually desperate and pedophiliac relatives and the aforementioned smart-ass children. The story moves about in a very predictable way, often painfully so, and at its 120 odd min length asks for too much of your patience. Trimming it down by 45 min wouldn't have improved the quality of the film, but there would have been that less of it to endure. The slapstick element in the form of a romance between the housemaid and the wedding contractor could have been mildly amusing in a film of much better overall quality but like most other elements of this film, it begins to grate. Various models and NRI-recruits display their typical vacuousness and it is left to a handful of seasoned actors to salvage as much of this venture as they can.
So is there any silver lining to this cloud? I'd like to say yes:
Naseeruddin Shah as the bride's father makes for a picture of dignity in this unholy pastiche. Although one could not ever count it among his more striking performances, it goes without dispute the film benefits immeasurably from the experience and essential solidity of this thespian. He builds a rapport with the audience bit by bit and uses this intimacy to lend a touching credibility to his dramatic scenes towards the end of the film.
Lilette Dubey as his wife lends very good support and it's nice to see an Indian film that features sexual intimacy between middle-ageds without sensationalizing it.
Shefali Chhaya as an ex-victim of the pedophiliac relative is sincere but hampered by utter cliché.
One person who seems to have had fun with this film is composer Mychael Danna. The credit titles roll with an amusing blend of typical Punjabi Baaraat and Western March music. Shots of city traffic (while nice to view, wholly unrelated to the film's plot and adding nothing to it) are punctuated with well executed inspirations from Indian classical music and a wonderful thumri plays as the background to a rather tiresome car-sex scene. If Danna himself has composed these then he represents the Western equivalent of our Vanraj Bhatia, being able to easily fuse the music of disparate cultures. To reflect its Punjabi ambience though, some brain-chewing songs have been imported from other sources for sequences including a horrifying one where a younger relative dresses up as a veritable street-walker and prances to a ludicrous beat while her elders and assorted suitors beam on (the former proudly and the latter lustfully).
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on January 27, 2004
The Verma family are quite under stress, especially the father Lalit. His only daughter Aditi is getting married, a traditional arranged marriage as done in India, but with a twist. The groom, Hemant Rai, is a computer programmer living in Houston, and for Aditi, this is a chance to enter a new world. However, her parents don't know that she has a married lover, Vikram Mehta, a broadcaster for a current affairs programme, and she's counting on him to divorce his wife. And everything about Indian weddings, down to the gatherings of various relatives, the ceremonial engagement rituals, the overbearing loud talk and laughter, is all there (q.v. Bend It Like Beckham). Aditi finds Hemant to be a decent and nice guy, but when push comes to shove, she finds that she doesn't want to start something based on lies and deceit.
Lalit has hired P.K. Dubey as the Events Manager, decorating the trees and bushes with marigolds, arranging the tents, etc. He is quite a shrewd businessman and a character who's made lots of money. Something in him changes when he sees Alice, the Verma family's hired kitchen maid. Alice's a quiet, timid, but pretty and simple girl, and as time passes, he has an attraction to her. It causes P.K. to realize he has managed 150 to 175 marriages, and the pleas of his mother to get her a daughter-in-law causes him to wonder if it's time to abandon his lonesome vagabond lifestyle and settle down with a decent, simple girl.
Other attractions involve Rahul, who has come from Melbourne to attend the wedding, who falls for the sensuous Ayesha, who will do a dance at the wedding.
However, other conflicts come into play. Ria, an adopted daughter who wants to be a writer, seems tense at the presence of an Uncle, Tej, whose family the Vermas are indebted to. She gets a bit nervous when he sees her with Aliya, a young preteen girl. The antics of Varun, their chubby and sensitive son, and his desire to be a chef and rehearsing for a dance for Aditi's wedding frustrates Lalit, who wants his son to more of a man and threatens to send him to boarding school. And when P.K.'s helpers see Alice trying on jewelry in the mirror in a moment of wishful fantasy, they label her a thief, which strains things between P.K. and Alice.
Like the parents in the later Bend It Like Beckham, the Vermas are displayed as disciplinarian and strict, but loving parents. Lalit tells his wife that everything he has done has been for their children's happiness, and that he's willing to take on any trouble and any sorrow for them. Despite the expense, as the mother Pimmi says, since it's their only daughter's wedding, nothing's a waste of money.
If Mohan Rai, the groom's father looks familiar, that's Roshan Seth, who played Nehru in the Gandhi movie-bio as well as the villainous Chattar Lal in the second Indiana Jones Movie.
Intercut with the trials of the Vermas are scenes of Delhi in monsoon season, people in cars, people dragging carts on concrete streets, a mixture of the modern and ancient in the global age. Which leads to this. What of India's role in this global Internet world? As a guest on Vikram's programme states, "just because India is global, why accept everything" at the cost of losing their ancient culture and traditions? When Hemant asks for a tea with no sugar, his friend and person on duty instantly equates no sugar with being American. America may be a land of modern luxury and opportunity, but at the cost of losing one's culture. Why accept everything indeed?
Michael Danna's score and the Hindi songs here add to the atmosphere of this foreign treat, as do the colourful costumes. As for why this is called Monsoon Wedding, well, monsoons are unpredictable in what they do. They come during a certain season, they cause great havoc and destruction, but in the end, the rain cleanses all, and life begins anew, as it does for the Verma family and the newlyweds.
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on October 26, 2003
Perhaps even movie of the decade. This movie is acted beautifully, written skillfully, and directed miraculously. This movie has an almost hyper-realistic feel at times, the cinematography, choreography, acting, lighting, pace, plot, and drama are all perfectly balanced. This movie has almost the feel of a wedding video, realistic, sometimes heartwrenching sometimes heartwarming, it soars above the rank and file of the hollywood miltibillion dollar machine.
This movie is brilliant despite (or perhaps because) wasting no time or money on special effects, explosions, gunfights, or general cheesy movie tricks. what one finds instead is a genuinenesss of spirit that involves the veiwer in the lives of the people. This is the story of a man living in the new "dotcom" India who is set to give his only daughter the wedding of her dreams. With side plots, humour, and fun, this movie is guaranteed to please. If all this doesn't prove that Mira Nair is one of the greatest directors of our age, then perhaps the fact that the whole thing was filmed in thirty days will convince you. This film is a masterwork, many directors will work for a lifetime without achieving half this level of excellence.
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on October 22, 2003
This charming film is a wonderful glimpse into the boisterous and ebullient Punjabi culture. We get to see preparations for a wedding, with all the politics and family-wrangling that must go on, but we also get to peer behind the scenes to the loss and the grief and the little joys encountered along the way.
Unlike "Greek Wedding" which often seemed to be succumbing to ethnic caricatures, the characters here are very real, both vulnerable and resilient. The acting is superb, but so many charming people in the cast doesn't hurt either.
The film is like a snapshot of a week in the life of these two families coming together. The ending is upbeat but it leaves many questions unanswered.
The direction is great with only a few uneven spots where the film drags a bit. But overall it is very watchable and even re-watchable.
I would recommend watching the DVD with the English subtitles turned on. This helps with some of the thicker accents among the cast.
A very likeable and memborable film.
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