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‘monsoon wedding’ essay

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‘ Monsoon Wedding’ is based on the Punjabi culture, with both traditional and modern customs entwined together. ‘ Bollywood’ is the term used to describe the Indian film industry, the largest in the world. However, Mira Nair has produced this Bollywood film with her own terms. She has dealt with the traditional Indian arranged marriage, but also explored sexual and taboo issues, which is seldom found in Bollywood films.

‘ Monsoon Wedding’ abolished the Western stereotypes of Eastern countries, of living in thatch-roofed huts, lacking in technology and bitter poverty. The film showed the Western audience the contemporary India, consisting of tall buildings, scandals and people dealing business with mobile phones. Nair studied at Harvard, in America, which was her main influence for this film. She steered away from the distinctive Bollywood plot and added her own mark. She effectively conveyed the cosmopolitan Indian merged with the Western influences. The first step to the idea of merging the two cultures is through the opening credits.

The purpose of an opening credit is to show a list of names of those who helped to produce the film, but at the same time, it has to also seize the attention and interest of the audience. It must set the scene and generate the appropriate mood. In ‘ Monsoon Wedding’, it uses warm colours; red, yellow and orange, which is commonly found in Bollywood films. The opening credit also includes a modern touch of blue and green, which perfectly reflect this film because it represents Nair’s own terms. The energetic Indian music invites the audience into the film whilst the smooth editing and bold shapes adds a twist to the traditional Bollywood style opening. Combined with the warm colours used in the opening credits, the establishing shot also welcomes the audience into the film and introduces them to the wedding theme.

The establishing shot is one of Lalit sorting out the brightly coloured marigolds under the wedding arch. This immediately informs the audience that there is going to be a wedding. The scene is laminated with sunlight conveying a cheerful, idyllic Bollywood film. However, this is not the case and the audience soon discovers that many problems arise when the wedding planner (Dubey) has not arrived. This shows that ‘ Monsoon Wedding’ does not have a typical, straightforward and predictable Bollywood plot.

When Dubey finally arrives, it is accompanied by quick editing of scenes of Dubey and Lalit’s argument. The audience is able to see the characters’ anxious expressions as a result of fast editing. This helps to demonstrate the tension between the two characters and apprehension about the situation of the wedding. Quick, straight, cut changes through dialogue, overlapping conversations, helps to maintain the audience’s attention and prevents the conversations from dragging on.

This is similar to many traditional Bollywood films where conversations have rapid editing, creating a sense of speed because they favour singing and dancing to bring forth emotion and plot outline. From the clear cutting, the audience learns about the two character’s fretful emotions and Nair’s Bollywood contribution into this film.

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