0 out of 10
American Beauty in India
There really can't be any one of us who has not had to endure the banality of sitting in auntie's living room as she shows you her holiday snaps. Clearly written by some boozy relative on a table napkin as a record of their own cousin's wedding, "Monsoon Wedding" is like the very worst of home videos performed by the most unconvincing and gouche of talentless actors. It's got as much plot as a parking space for a shopping trolley.
If your brain can withstand the constant pounding of the off key Bengali din, it has in place of music, maybe you can also decode the wobbly and blurred camerawork. Amidst the beauty of ancient and traditional Indian cultural venues of golf courses and discotheques, some nutball called "Dubey" stuffs his face with marigolds to relieve his distress of having a blocked toilet, whilst a bunch of fat sweaty slags, half cut on a few bottles of gin, try to get off with their cousins.
Almost always photographed with her hands together, (persumably praying for that someone, somewhere will actually pay to see it), director Mira Nairs has clearly shown that she has certainly not forgotten her roots. As an accomplished documentary director, she has ceated a drama that is totally lacking in even the slightest of humour. And just who has she dragged into this mess? Frankly, a whole bunch of Bollywood's backstreet "Jane" and "Joe Does" (only the names have been changed to protect the guilty) and the dregs of New Delhi drama.
The picture is supposed to be a voyage of discovery in the meaning of life, but by the last reel, the only ones to have found anything are the audience who have no doubt spent the last two hours hunting for the exits as the characters stumble about unable to find any point being n the picture. Indeed, the only scene in any way moving shows the father cuddling up to his wife at night as he sobs unrelentingly after, no doubt, his agent has told him "Monsoon Wedding" is going on general release and he realizes his career as an actor is over.
With the exception only of a clumsy scene about a pedophile uncle near the end, that just makes you want to burst into laughter, about the only nice thing to see in the flick is a brief couple of shots of an early '90's black Honda Civic, garlanded with flowers...at least, though, in this ex-colony, they have retained the level of civilized living to drive on the left, the correct side of the road.
Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett