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Saturday, March 29, 2003 AD
Monsoon Wedding
I watched "Monsoon Wedding" three times in a row this week. I needed the first two viewings just to catch most of the dialogue. They switch back and forth between English and Hindi (and I think Punjabi, too...not that I can distinguish) so frequently and rapidly that it's hard for a monolingual ignoramus such as myself to follow. It was about halfway through the second viewing when I finally figured out what the bride's name was. It was in the third viewing that I caught the groom's. But then again, I found myself not really caring about the bride and groom. He (Hemant) was OK, but there really wasn't much of him in the story. As for her (Aditi)...well, let's just say I don't need a movie to get a dose of sullen and self-centered -- I can get that just by looking in the mirror.

Dubey and Alice -- the event manager and the servant girl -- were the heart-stealers of the show. Their characters were much more engaging and their romance was much more interesting. He's brash and overconfident, pretending to know it all and often making very little sense. She's "a simple, decent girl" -- shy and modest and utterly in control. He's utterly undone.

Ria's story is, of course, compelling. And very well written and acted. I knew exactly what was going on the moment Tej Uncle enters the scene -- Ria's expression says it all. At the end, when he removes his turban, his debonairly perfect hair has been squashed flat.

Aditi's father, Lalit (caught his name in the second viewing), spends the movie calling his Australian ex-pat nephew an idiot. And Rahul really is a bit of an idiot, but he makes good in the end. Lalit is a bit of an idiot, too, though. We see some of his failures and imperfections, but he, too, makes good in the end. Better than good -- self-sacrificially heroic.

The music and dancing were a blast, too.

The only movies I'd ever seen set in India were things like "The Jewel in the Crown" and "A Passage to India" -- an English colonial perspective -- so it was good to see India from an Indian perspective. I'd like to see colonial India from an Indian perspective, though. Too many decades' difference to make a good comparison.

Well, I never claimed to be able to write a movie review, so that's about all I have to say. I give it 10 marigolds, exactly and approximately. ·;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 3/29/2003 11:02:00 AM • Permalink

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