In cinematic tradition, when far-flung families gather for a domestic celebration the air is pervaded with the sound of rattling skeletons. Scandalous revelations are made, suppressed feuds liberated. What really happened between grandma and granddad and the lodger from Poughkeepsie back in 1942 is at last exposed. For dramatic purposes, happy families are usually of little use.
Monsoon Wedding includes numerous such secrets, but they are ultimately contained within a life-affirming, cheerful story about the arranged marriage of Aditi Verma to Hemant Rai, an engineer from Texas. The Vermas are Punjabis living in Delhi, although some family members have scattered as far afield as the Gulf states and Australia. The film begins, significantly, in a television studio with a noisy debate on the rift between the modern world and traditional values. This debate is a general theme of the movie and central to one of the plot lines.
This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $4.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.