Monsoon Wedding

on February 22, 2002 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
   Crowd-pleasing in the worst way, Mira Nair's “Monsoon Wedding,” which won the Best Film in Competition award at the Venice Film Festival, is a failed “Nashville”-like look into the modern-ancient traditions co-existing uneasily in present-day India. Set in the period leading up to the New Delhi wedding of Aditi (Vasundhara Das), a reluctant Indian bride preparing to marry Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), a Houston-based Indian engineer, “Monsoon Wedding” has a broad sweep but not much depth. There are a few trite scenes revolving around globalization versus specific cultural attributes and all manner of family dynamics playing out onscreen, but little of what ensues is memorable, affecting or surprising. Compared to the films of the late Indian master Satyajit Ray (“Days and Nights in the Forest”) or even a recent Indian set film like Deepa Mehta's lesbian romance “Fire,” “Monsoon Wedding” brings nothing new to the table. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey and Vasundhara Das. Directed by Mira Nair. Written by Sabrina Dhawan. Produced by Caroline Baron and Mira Nair. A USA release. Drama. English- and Hindi-language, subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 115 min. Opens 2002
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