Monsoon Wedding (2001): “..where it’s necessary to wear different masks..”

Monsoon Wedding

“I saw Monsoon Wedding (2001) by Indian filmmaker Mira Nair, a while ago when I was living in New York and interning for a Dutch journalist, Max Westerman who works for RTL News. I went to see the film with a friend and beforehand I had learned that the film won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival and it was rated with five stars. Besides that, the film’s poster intrigued me because it was very colorful as I expect from Bollywood films, but it also had more of a Western aesthetic. It sort of seemed to be a new approach. The film was very impressive. On the other hand, it had many Bollywood elements such as singing, dancing, rituals, and music. That did come from the wedding situation that it was set in during monsoon season. Friends and family from all over India and the world flew to Delhi for the wedding. They party for two weeks straight and everyone seems to like each other, but beneath the surface, there are some hidden truths. Later in the film, you find out that a rich uncle who paid the studies of some of his nieces and nephews, molested one of the lead characters when she was younger. Meanwhile, the family continues to place that uncle on a pedestal, because they feel that they owe a lot to him. I can recognize a lot in Monsoon Wedding being of East Indian-Surinamese descent myself. Living in a variety of worlds where it’s necessary to wear different masks for some people within the family, but also outside of the family depending on which scene you are in. I was really enthused about the film. I began to analyze it while watching the film and the friend I was with suddenly said, “Rishi, you should make films.” He felt that the way I spoke about this film was very passionate and analytical and what he said sounded very convincing. That’s why I ended up working in film. For some of the fund applications, I even used Monsoon Wedding as an example of what I want to convey in my films. Basically the dilemmas and connections of living in two worlds. Even the short film script that I wrote for CinemAsia FilmLAB treats the same subject. This script is about a Mother and her son, who with a yoga priest, tries a ritual that is supposed to convert her son from his homosexuality. They all say that they want the best for him and that they do this out of love, but people actually are damaged by these ritualistic treatments.” – Rishi Chamman

Photo and story by Feargal Agard


Director: Mira Nair | Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah.

A review by FilmLAB 2019 participant Rishi Chamman. Find out more about his dreams and aspirations, Click Here.

You can discover films from Asia at CinemAsia Film Festival 2019 from the 5th till the 10th of March.

Go to the festival programme to get your tickets:


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