starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty, Vijay Raaz
screenplay by Sabrina Dhawan
directed by Mira Nair
by Walter Chaw Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding plays like an unedited wedding video, capturing peccadillo along with celebration and ugliness along with beauty. Slyly, a little in the manner of an Ousmane Sembene film, it weaves the troubling elements of its culture into the rituals of joy. (In the case of Monsoon Wedding, Nair explores India's caste system, American cultural diffusion, the question of expatriated sons, and the inevitable death of tradition.) Yet Monsoon Wedding is also an exuberant Bollywood-lite soap opera with flat characterizations and badly-telegraphed plot points punctuated periodically by bombastic sitar sing-alongs. What most separates Nair's piece from Sembene's masterpieces, however, is that ineffable sense of naturalism which better defines a culture than an abuse of its mad cinema's mad archetypes.