Monsoon Wedding - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Monsoon Wedding Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 19, 2009
A slow-burn that by the end, has you completely enraptured - it's unfortunate that this film doesn't seem to be seen as more than a love story, there's really a lot going on here. The way the film gets past arranged marriage and works its way into love is simplistic but beautiful, and the low-class love story is also incredibly charming, but perhaps most importantly, this film may have cast the mold for the "Family Secret Revealed In Stress Of Wedding Movie." The subplot with the eldest cousin and the uncle might be the strongest aspect of the film, and it adds a crushing reality to the supposed beauty of a wedding. If you liked Rachel Getting Married or Margot at the Wedding, look back to this film: it broke the ground, and more than that, it will take you away to India for an hour or two. Good for a lot of reasons.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2008
Good story set in India about a large family and their daughter who is to have an arranged marriage. This is one of the more positive stories of that scenario - not what you normally see, where someone is being forced to marry and is unhappy. There is still plenty of trauma here, so don't let that put you off - it is not a normal romantic wedding movie, although there is some romance in it. I found this one very hard to put in a box as it is quite unique. Beautiful to look at also, I loved all the beautiful orange flowers that seemed to run a theme through this. It also shows a lot of India. It is a little hard to get into at first, but it is worth it, and the Bollywood style singing is at a minimum, so actually quite enjoyable when it does happen. Give it a go!
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2009
Fabulous in the sense that it paints a wonderful palette of dynamics in an Indian family. It's not too culture-centric so the mainstream can appreciate it too, the conflict is serious but not too heavy, and you can feel the love just seeping throughout each crack. "Rachel Getting Married" without the psychosis. I kinda wish there were songs though. Just because it's Indian.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2009
Given how long I've heard folks talk about this one, I can't quite understand why I've never seen it, but I'm very thankful I finally did. Beautiful! Multiple love stories that all work well together. A great look at one culture's approach to the whole wedding ceremony. I'm now definitely in love with Tillotama Shome : ) Alice, you knock me out. The only thing that's a half-star jarring for me, is the child predator angle. I mean, I think the film works without that. This is a must-see.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2008
Beautifully filmed story of wedding preperations amongst an Indian family. Definately watch it..have some marigolds with it and enjoy.
Super Reviewer
½ January 27, 2012
Beautiful depiction of a family in the lead up to the wedding. My favourite scene is the marriage of servants quietly taking place in a simple manner in the backdrop. More moving than the ceremony which is the focus of the main picture.
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2009
Colourful and intimate. If you are in to romantic comedies, watch it.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2011
This is a different kind of film. It shows a contemporary side of India that is irresistible. You will feel as if you know the characters portrayed, even if they live half a world away.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
I was skeptical at first about seeing this movie. I'm not into Bollywood movies at all. But this one really captivated me and it was a truly mix of musical, social comment and romantic movie-making at its best. I was not familiar with Mira Nair's work at all, but after having seen how she delicately handles some real life topic in her movie, such as child-abuse, pre-arranged-marital-infidelity, gay Indian boy, real kissing scenes, I was perplex, you don't see this in other Indians movies so easily. This was a totally feel good movie with the right amount of drama, mixed with comedy and romance. I think it's a great family film.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2008
What a pretty movie about romance and getting married.
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2006
A movie definitely for keeps!
½ December 2, 2013
When I first started watching Monsoon Wedding to be honest I wasn't enthused; nothing at the beginning really enticed me or caught my attention, however as the film progressed and I began to emphasize with the very relatable heartaches and joys that the families faced my mind was quickly changed. When the film ended I was satisfied with my decision to review Monsoon Wedding, it was not only culturally enlightening and but entertaining as well. Wedding planning is horribly stressful, at time it's so stressful it's almost comical like in this film, I could relate to the chaos that ensued during preparations for the wedding since I was married once. When I was reviewing the film I couldn't but draw comparisons between Hinduism and Islam. In Islam men and women are not allowed the same social freedoms; the sexes were not allowed to freely converse and smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited. Marriage is an extremely important ritual in Hinduism and recently more individuals have had the ability to marry for love as long as they stayed within their caste system. It is not as common for arranged marriages like Hemant's and Aditi's to take place now, it still occurs but originally traditions stated all marriages where to be formed by the bride and grooms family. In the movie there is a song that is about presenting bracelets as a gift into marriage, I remember reading this in our text and I find it interesting that giving one a bracelet is like giving someone a ring in our culture. One thing I did not see in the movie was that in arranged marriages they also traditionally consult an astrologer to determine how well the couple will work together.
The movie begins with Aditi's father struggling to get the flowers to stay in place on the marigold gate that was used to be used during his daughter's wedding. The next part of my film is the favorite; comical hilarity ensues when Lalit and the wedding planner Dubey have a lively disagreement over the flowers and his delay via cellphone, while Lalit is on the phone Rahul backs into the driveway nearly knocking over the decorative plants and Lalit has to jump behind his car to keep him from backing up any further and inflicting more possible damage. The next scene is where you finally see Aditi and learn of her lover Vikram. Ria and Aditi have a conversation about her arranged marriage in the cab; her cousin Ria asks Aditi why she is marrying a man her parents choose for her that she barely knows and does not love. Aditi explains that she wants to be settled and will not wait for Vikram's wife to grant him a divorce. Before the engagement party is where the audience sees the servant Alice and event manager Dubey interacting, Ria finding Aliya in the closest after her shower, Rahul and Ayesha meeting; during the course of the movie you learn how intertwined Rahul, Ayesha, Ria, Aliya, Dubey and Alice are with the storyline. At the engagement party Aditi and Hemant exchange rings and both the families who have traveled from all over the world to attend the ceremony are delighted, however they look less than thrilled. Tej, Lalit's brother in law and head of the family shows up at the engagement party and Ria becomes upset when Tej touches her and kisses her forehead. The family informs Tej of Ria's plans to go to the states and Aditi sneaks away to call Vikram but his wife picks up the phone, so she hangs up. Tej informs the family that he will pay for Ria's trip and education, Ria begins to cry. It becomes clear that something has transpired between Ria and Tej given her strong emotional upset but his presence. The next morning over breakfast Aditi and x discuss how she feels about moving to America with him and being away from her family and later on that day Dubey expresses his desire to be wed to his friends. During a shopping trip Aditi tries to sneak away to call Vikram but is told by Ria that their aunts would like the Bride's approval. Alice is cleaning and while she is cleaning she begins to try on jewelry and Dubey is entranced by her and begins to watch, his friends take notice of him watching her and come to the window, upon seeing her they yell "I knew she was a thief", Alice hears them and runs away scared and upset. Dubey is enraged by his friend's actions and begins to yell at them, informing his friends that she is no thief. Ria overhears Taj talking to Aliya and is bothered by what she hears and believes she is about to come upon something given the nature of what she is hearing, this would lead one to believe that something transpired between her and Taj when she was a child. Aditi sneaks out into the night to meet up with Vikram, her ex-boyfriend and they are caught by the cops sharing a moment, after she is hassled by them she becomes ashamed and fleas in Vikram's car. Aditi tells Ria that she must tell Hemant what happened between her and Vikram, Ria tells her she must reconsider. Upon hearing her confession he becomes upset, Varun fights with Aditi's and his parents upon hearing that his father wants to send him to boarding school. The reason why Lalit wants to send him to boarding school is to toughen him up is because he doesn't approve of him wanting to cook and liking to dance, he wants him to become an educated man. Dubey's friends try to convenience Alice that they made a mistake with what they saw and how sorry they were. Aditi leaves Hemant's car crying and he feels bad and goes after her; he tells her that he appreciates her honesty and that if they were still to be married was her decision. Varun refuses to the do the dance with Ayesha because of his father's disapproval so Ayesha asks Rahul to dance and he will not despite their feelings for each other. Rahul's Mother sees this and tells him not to be a coward and to fight the battle; another man begins to dance with Ayesha so Rahul steps up, pushes him aside and dances with her. Aditi and Hemant sneak off and kiss, while Dubey is professing his love for Alice by presenting her with a heart made from marigolds. When Aditi comes back with Hemant the discussion of kissing comes up and Aliya said what's the big deal and alludes to Taj kissing her, Taj sees that her mother needs help and offers to take her for a "drive". Ria sees him taking her into the car for a drive and jumps in front it, causing him to stop. Ria yanks her out the car and begins to yell everything that happened to her as a child in order to save Aliya, Taj denies it saying that she is crazy and Ria leaves saying if telling Lalit that if he did not believe her that she did not any part of the wedding. Lalit's brother had passed when she was young so he raised her as his own daughter, Lalit goes after Ria to bring her home and come to the wedding. At the wedding she tries to deal with Taj's presence and must kneel before his feet in the family photograph, finally Lalit can no longer take it and tells him to leave. Much to my delight the movie had a happy ending filled with color, happiness and dancing. After seeing such an emotionally moving scene I was hoping the movie would end a lot happier. Much to my joy Dubey and Alice get married in a small, intimate ceremony with only Dubey's friends in attendance, Ria finds someone who cares for her and everyone including the Bride and the Groom are joyous at the wedding.
November 18, 2013
One line summary: Overrated, laborious.
Not as good as Nair's 1997 film, Kama Sutra: a Tale of Love.


Families meet in Delhi for an arranged marriage between Aditi Verma (daughter of Lalit and Pimmi Verma) and Hemant Rai.

PK Dubey is the lower class, foul-mouthed, wedding arranger who is interested in the maid, Alice. Lalit is having money trouble; this translates to slow payments to PK.

Ria Verma is the unmarried cousin of Aditi, who was abused by Tej Puri when she was younger.

Aditi decides to visit her old flame one last time. That does not work out well, and reminds one of the phrase, 'get a room.' The police were quite amused. Aditi tells Hemant about this. Oh, what a mistake. He tells her that they will just fit in Houston, Texas, where he currently works. He is not amused. He decides to go through with it, and I did not see any particular believable justification for that change of heart.

At that point in the movie, I was ready to quit. Slow, boring, not engaging, no sympathetic characters, except perhaps Lalit and PK. Then it gets worse; the child molestation issue was not handled well.

Happy ending, I guess. Things turned out well for PK.


Cinematography: 7/10 Variable.

Sound: 8/10 Good most of the time.

Acting: 6/10 Cheers to Naseerruddin Shah (Lalit), Tillotama Shome (Alice), Vijay Raaz (PK). Thumbs down otherwise, particularly for the actors who played the bride and groom.

Screenplay: 6/10 Neither engaging nor believable. The story is rather good, so I would blame the direction, plus poor choices for many of the acting roles.
March 7, 2013
I really enjoyed this movie...the soundtrack was awesome, the acting was impeccable, and the story was moving, funny, and believable.
February 4, 2013
A good introduction to Indian culture without actually being a Bollywood movie. A beautiful love story and a gripping family drama.
½ January 27, 2013
Monsoon Wedding is a depiction of old Indian traditions melding with modern sensibilities and daily life. The story focuses on the Verma family; father Lalit, mother Pimmi, daughter and bride-to-be Aditi, and son Varun. Lalit has recently arranged a marriage for Aditi to a man called Hemant she has known for only a few weeks. We see Aditi struggle with the idea of marriage over the course of the movie. She is still having an affair with a married man and wonders if she should wait for him to leave his wife and marry for passion and love instead. Just before her wedding day, a late night meeting with her lover turns sour. She decides he doesn't love or respect her enough and she should call off the affair. This compels her to be open and honest with her fiance, Hemant, and tell him about the affair before their wedding. Angry at first, he soon comes around and says he thinks their marriage has a chance and they can be happy together. He tells her he values her honesty and that the decision to marry is in her court now. Meanwhile, while seeing one child leave the nest, Lalit and Pimmi deal with issues regarding the future of their young son, Varun. He does not fit into traditional Indian stereotypes and expectations, being that he is less masculine and uninterested in stereotypically manly things like sport and study. We see their struggle to deal with this, mostly on Lalit's end. The Verma house is brimming with relatives during the week of wedding festivities. An unfortunate discovery is made about Ria, Lalit's niece, and a history of her sexual molestation by a family member. This is a point of contention as it seems it may happen again to another young family member. Eventually Lalit decides silence is not a strong enough response to such a wrong and defends his niece by sending his brother-in-law, the pedophile, away from the wedding. The chaos of the wedding planning centers on a sub-story of wedding coordinator P.K. Dubey. We see him grow from a lazy, shallow man to a lovestruck character intent on winning a newly desired love, Alice the Verma family's housekeeper, and becoming a respectable family man. Their innocent, lower class courtship and marriage is celebrated quietly at the same time Aditi and Hemant's over the top wedding is taking place. The movie ends with all the relatives and the two wedding couples rejoicing and dancing under an opulent tent as the rain pours down.

This movie touches on many Indian culture perspectives. Hinduism is constantly referenced and respect is a focal issue. Arranged marriage is common in the Hindu religion and we see the tradition being tested against modern society. The idea of marriage as a business venture (albeit a sacred institution) rather than a love match permeates the film. We also see the representation of the caste system in this movie, although not to the extreme that it used to be. The Verma family represents the middle class while Dubey and Alice represent the lower class. While not directly referencing Hindu characteristics, a hint of the religion is present in nearly every scene as an explanation for tendencies and actions. The elaborate wedding is focused on family and celebration and honoring tradition and less on the love of the bride and groom.
½ January 27, 2013
Monsoon Wedding is a very interesting and intricate story about a family coming together for a wedding in India. The story is mostly centered on Aditi Verma who has agreed to an arranged marriage with an engineer from Houston after her relationship with a married TV producer has come to an end. This part of the storyline was very intriguing to me because the arranged marriage story was different from what I expected; it showed a sweet and vulnerable side of two people who barely know each other coming together to join their lives as one and trying to get to know one another in the process. I also found the love story between their maid and the contractor very touching. Lalit Verma was just trying to do his best as a father to make sure his daughter's wedding was the best that it could be. However, the twist in the storyline involved the revelation of abuse in the family was shocking to me and added another layer to the story. I enjoyed looking at the costumes and rituals and customs of an Indian family coming together to celebrate a wedding. The end of the film shows the traditions and customs of a Hindu wedding ceremony. They lit the sacred fire and also showed the Saptapadi' which is also known as the seven steps according to Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway's article on the 7 blessings of a Hindu wedding. The bride's sari was tied to the groom's kutra and they walked around the fire seven times while the priest blesses them with the seven blessings of a lasting union. I appreciated that they did show religious aspects of a Hindu ceremony in the film and it made me enjoy the film even more. I was skeptical at first about this movie but I did enjoy it every much.
½ April 25, 2012
An excellent film with several subplots surrounding a wedding. My favorite subplot is the event manager's love for the maid Alice; meanwhile, I felt Ria's secret to be very heartbreaking to the point of tears; by the end of it, I was very proud of Aditi's father for standing up for Ria and himself.
The music was in and out- subtle in some parts of the film and energetic in others. The rain coming down during the wedding ceremony had an amazing effect on the warm and vibrant colors of the costumes. Steamy!
April 25, 2008
I'm pretty sure I owned this movie on VHS, right around the very last gasp of that particular medium. Now I've purchased it in digital format and watched it on Flixster! It's my own personal constant through the evolution of home entertainment. Also - in case my multiple purchases didn't clue you in - it's a fantastic movie, in every possible way.
November 16, 2011
Waterproofing Should Always Be Included

By and large, I think arranged marriages are a horrible idea. They're a slightly better idea if you at least live in the same town, and for preference house, with the person doing the arranging. I suspect, however, that the expectations of an arranged marriage are different. I suspect that you are not likely to go into one thinking that it will be a Romance For the Ages. I'm wondering how much the taboo against divorce factors in, come to that. If people who don't think they're able to divorce without incurring social penalties put up with a lot more than people for whom divorce is always an option. Now, I know that Graham is not who my mother would choose for me, if I gave Mom the right to choose who I would marry. And I treasure the fact that I don't at all have to worry about it. However, I don't know if I would feel differently if I had so badly mishandled my own personal life. It's worth considering.

You see, Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das) has, for some time now, been in a relationship with Vikram Mehta (Sameer Arya), a married man. And she's just tired of the whole thing, so what she's going to do now is let her parents arrange a marriage for her to the son of their old childhood friends, Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), who also has the added advantage of living in America, far away from the problems she's made for herself. But of course, no wedding plans ever go smoothly. It seems like half the members in the big Indian families are busy with their own subplots. Her father, Lalit (Naseeruddin Shah), can't really afford for the wedding to be as elaborate as he's planning, and he's deeply upset that his son, Varun (Ishaan Nair), is not as masculine as he'd like and is planning to be a chef. His niece, Ria (Shefalie Shetty), was molested as a child by his sister's husband, Tej Puri (Rajat Kapoor), who is now eyeing young Aliyah (Kemaya Kidwai). And the wedding planner, P. K. Dubey (Vijay Raaz), is in love with the maid, Alice (Tillotama Shome).

Once again, we're looking at a battle between the Western and the traditional. The girls of the family are growing fond of the idea of independence. They like the idea that they don't have to do what their families want. Ria is even considering going off to the US to study writing. She is also willing to defy the whole family if that's what it takes to protect Aliyah. And, of course, the movie wouldn't be happening at all if Aditi had not fallen in love with a married man. Ayesha (Neha Dubey) has chosen who she will marry, and it doesn't much matter what anyone else has to say on the subject. And indeed, it's as much a battle between the modern and the traditional, given that women's independence is very recent even in the West. The women don't want to live the same lives their ancestresses did, even though Aditi has accepted the traditional choice of an arranged marriage. She still reserves the right to call it off.

This is also just a beautiful film. Unlike a Western film about a wedding, there is a great deal more open joy, I think. The night before the wedding, there is a big party for everyone concerned. There isn't separating into a bridal shower and a bachelor party, though the women do have a private party to start the process of beautifying the bride. Instead, the families get together and sing and dance, and the dancing isn't limited to traditional music. The night of the wedding itself, they dance to techno. All of them, from the children to the grandmothers. The one who has been living in Melbourne, Rahul (Randeep Hooda), says he cannot dance to Indian music, but when it looks as though someone else is courting Ayesha, he tries. And at the end, they even welcome P. K. and Alice into their midst, because they are celebrating as well. Even the arranged marriage is, at heart, about family; various mothers and grandmothers insist that their descendants provide them with even more sons for the family.

In the end, everyone concerned really does want what's best for everyone else--except the odious Vikram, who very nearly leaves Aditi to get raped by a couple of cops. (One wonders how he explained the evening's events to his wife, all things considered.) Unfortunately, what's best isn't always easy to determine. As it turns out, P. K. is Brahmin (I don't know how the people who mention this on the IMDB message boards know this), and so his mother (Sharda Desoares) has even more reason to want grandsons. But she also genuinely seems to want her son to be happy. It's just that she thinks he needs a wife and family to be truly happy. It's probably also true that she's not a hundred percent certain that her son should be spending his days arranging weddings for people of lower castes than they. Probably it's only her certainty that her son should have his own sons that will let her resign herself to the fact that he's marrying a maid.
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