I watched Monsoon Wedding yesterday. Then I watched it again. Today, I actually spent the time to watch the whole commentary track accompanying the film, something I rarely have the patience to do.
Okay, so I’m recovering from a stomach virus, and I’m a little bored. That does not negate the beauty, passion, and sheer pleasure of this movie. I was captivated. The scenery, the costumes, the music, and the appetite for life that the Punjabi people of India have, combine in this low budget film to make it so much more.
I love Mira Nair’s work. I must see more of her movies. I must own her movies.
Monsoon Wedding is a love story (or several). It is a story about family. It is a comedy. It is happy, sad, funny, and serious, all in turns. Nair brings the audience into the heart of an Indian family as they prepare in haste for an arranged marriage of their daughter, Aditi, in the rainy season. The reluctant bride still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend. The father is overwhelmed by wedding plans and bills. As their family descends on them, the audience is swept away in the verve with which the Punjabi live their lives.
The music is a mix of popular and traditional from the Indian culture, weaving back and forth from one scene to the next, just as they jump from Hindi to English to Punjabi. It beautifully evokes the many facets of India. I found the language switches curious, but it was even more interesting to find out from the commentary that this is a common occurence in this style of living and not at all a convention merely for the film.
The commentary also finds Nair telling stories about the happenstance way that many of the actors for smaller roles were chosen and how locations and scenery came to be. Due to the low budget, she borrowed props and even locations, such as the beautifully tiled, empty swimming pool that houses the party scene, from family and friends. The helter skelter of production in no way detracts from the final product. If anything, it is more rich for having such a solid grounding in reality.