Mira Nair's 2001 film deftly balances celebration with family trauma. Info
Director Mira Nair's feature Monsoon Wedding (with a screenplay by Sabrina Dhawan) was one of the first major Indian films from outside of Bollywood to break through to American audiences back in 2001. This expertly crafted and internationally produced drama is a balancing act of five (count 'em) romances, an exuberantly planned wedding, and a sad but ultimately redemptive story of intra-family abuse, rightfully recognized with a Criterion Collection release in 2009.
The story follows the planning and execution of an arranged marriage, as family members pour in from across the world to meet each other for the first time. Nearly everyone has secrets that start to unravel, from the bride (Vasundhara Das) who still meets with her television celebrity ex-boyfriend, to the overly confident and hilarious wedding-planner (Vijay Raaz) who yearns for his own wife. As more and more family members arrive to celebrate, the parents of the bride (Naseeruddin Shah as Lalit Verma and Lillete Dubey as Pimmi Verma) and their adopted daughter (Shefali Shah) stand out as the flawed protagonists, as they confront family trauma that seeps into what would have been an already chaotic occasion. —Reid Kurkerewicz