Monsoon Wedding


The Monsoon Wedding (2001), directed by Mira Nayar is a film talking about the third world globalization issues along with American neo-imperialism. This kind of imperialism, which although has been quite helpful in fostering the Indian culture and society has also affected the ethnicity immensely. Throughout the movie, we see characters spending their days by reading cosmopolitan magazines, smoking cigarettes, having a drink, indulging themselves freely in pre-marital sexual encounters and discussing censorship of the western influence. However Nayar has not only focused on globalization and its effects on a country like India. Nayar has freely portrayed taboos, which in a patriarchal society has always been suppressed and has been almost in most of the situations has been successfully been hushed. The episodes of child sexual abuse, enforcement of gender roles among other things has been explored and portrayed vividly.

    Nayar chooses the space of an Indian wedding  to talk about these diverse topics. An Indian wedding scenario is something which is highly indigenous and something which is very close to an Indian’s consciousness and sensibility. With a complex script merged with highly thought provoking themes, she has successfully showed India’s resistance to global products. Each global product that has found its way into the culture has been successfully made indigenous.  This is a form of resistance. The Indian society has been successful in maintaining their personal identity. However the complex effects of globalization is seen from its departure from the regular genres of Indian cinema. Rarely has it been seen that the topics of gender roles and sexual abuse have been explored so well.

    Dear Octopus, a play by Dodie Smith, takes its title from a speech which talks about the family as an octopus drawing all is family members together, however the same creature often strangles its children and uses its ink to conceal its actions. Such is the upper middle class Verma family. Lalit, the bride’s father has been successfully portrayed by Naseeruddin Shah who has a son who is more interested in learning the art of cooking and dancing. Now, the Indian society frowns heavily upon such a shift from the norms.  The enforcement of gender roles is understood when we find him constantly bullied and scorned by his father for his presumably lack of “masculine” qualities.

    Secondly, Shefali Shah, Ria plays the role of a strong woman who refuses to be silent about the abuses she faced at the hands of her uncle. An uncle who is powerful in her family in terms of wealth and is thus already in a position of an elevated power . She speaks up and her outrage at the family’s attempts to brush away her traumatic experiences leaves a mark and is brilliantly put forth.

    The entire narrative is replete with the facets of globalization. Internet is highly accessible and is a prominent device in the narrative.  Cell phones, suits,” business talks” are dominant themes bringing up the idea that maybe, India is again under the clutches of neo-imperialism which is due to America. Overall, the setting of highly evolving Delhi and India at the beginning of a century, Nayar brings home important issues. She tackles the issues of globalization, imperialism and the need to preserve the culture as well as welcome changes. In today’s hour we need art which can bring us closer in understanding these vital topics and “Monsoon Wedding” is one such medium of art.



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