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By Michael Dequina | March 29, 2002

Only four days remain before the arranged wedding between Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das) and Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), and the entire Verma family and their associates all seem to be in the thick of personal dramas that need to be ironed out. Father of the bride Lalit (Naseeruddin Shah) must deal with the wedding planner’s (Vijay Raaz) escalating charges for the backyard ceremony. The bride’s cousin Ria (Shefali Shetty) boldly eschews tradition by choosing a scholarly, unwed path and airing some long-buried dirty laundry. Another cousin (Neha Dubey) finds romance with a college student (Randeep Hooda) who has just arrived from Australia; not to be outdone, the wedding planner falls head over heels for the Vermas’ maid (Tilotama Shome). Then there’s the tiny detail that the bride hasn’t quite shaken her married ex-lover.
A film centering on a traditional Indian wedding in contemporary New Delhi may not sound like specialized fare, but Mira Nair’s film is an absolute delight for all audiences. Nair and writer Sabrina Dhawan make no bones about the feel-good packaging, and their warm embrace of romantic conventions is all the more inviting given the distinctly Indian flavor of their approach. Much like how the New Delhi they present is a mix of old Eastern tradition and modern Western innovation and technology, Monsoon Wedding is strongly infused with an unmistakably exotic Bollywood flair while addressing themes and concerns that are universal–namely, the bonds of family and, most importantly, love.

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