A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this is essentially a romantic drama with some comic scenes, it also addresses serious issues such as child molestation and adultery. A woman confronts someone who molested her in childhood because she fears he's moved on to another family member. Nothing is shown. Another woman going into an arranged marriage tries to have one last tryst with her lover in a car and is stopped and harassed by police. Overall the movie focuses on an admirably caring family and blooming romance.
What's the story?
MONSOON WEDDING takes place over several days leading up to a wedding. Upper-class parents Lalit and Pimmi Verma (Naseeruddin Shah and Lillete Dubey) have arranged for their daughter, Aditi (Vasundhara Das), to marry Hemant (Parvin Dabas). A modern working woman, Aditi agrees to the antiquated concept only to untangle herself from an affair with a married man. The Verma home bustles with workers and relatives. Various romances develop, the most endearing between housekeeper Alice (Tilotama Shome) and wedding planner, Dubey (Vijay Raaz). As the wedding day nears, complications arise. Aditi, conflicted over her upcoming nuptials, sneaks away to see her former lover. Meanwhile, the anxious father of the bride frets over everything and grapples with a horrible family secret unveiled on the eve of the wedding.
Is it any good?
Director Mira Nair's tale of family, love, and culture in India is a joy to experience. You're riveted from the moment the infectious Bollywood-esque music booms over the opening credits to the wildly romantic and satisfying conclusion. The film explores Indian culture and how characters both preserve that culture and shake it up. It also reveals contrasts: modern and traditional, young and old, rich and poor, East and West, appearance and reality.
Alice and Dubey's moments together are awkward and sweet, while Dubey's interactions with his workers provide much of the film's comic relief. These characters also serve as a contrast to the wealthier family that employs them. The way Aditi's father handles the dark family secret shows the fierce loyalty that binds this family and drives its story. And, of course, romance and love bloom throughout, as vibrant and delicate as the marigolds that brighten the film's landscape.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various contrasts in the film, particularly those between younger and older people, and modern versus traditional Indian culture. Toward the end of the film, a woman describes how people must step up to the plate and "fight the battle." How do various characters demonstrate this philosophy throughout the film?
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