Director: Mira Nair
Writer: Sabrina Dhawan
Cinematography: Declan Quinn
Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Vijay Raaz
Studio/ runtime: IFC Productions, 114 minutes
Famed Indian director Mira Nair returns to her roots and strikes a colorful balance
The groom in the arranged marriage which Indian director Mira Nair’s 2001 feature Monsoon Wedding tracks confesses early in the film: “I don’t know who’s who half the time.” Viewers might feel similarly, as Nair’s fifth full-length film immerses us in a colorful whirlwind of the modern extended Indian family (hailing from Australia, Dubai, and Houston, Texas) and all the sub-plots such gatherings imply. Sure, the arranged marriage might appear to be the film’s centerpiece, but the real “wedding” being investigated here is India’s centuries-old traditions coming together with Western culture. Myriad threads about family and love get spun together via Nair’s intricate cuts and cinematographer Quinn’s kinetic camera, holding the ensemble performances together. Included in this two-disc set are Nair’s short fictions and full-length documentaries, but while the former tends toward the melodramatic, the latter reveals her to be a trenchant observer of the contradictions at the heart of everyday India. Restored to vibrant marigold oranges and saffron reds, Monsoon Wedding strikes a balance between Nair’s two extremes, just like any successful couple.