Published on January 29, 2008
Monsoon Wedding: Monsoon Wedding Diversity and Conflicts in Love and Families in Modern Dehli Outline: Outline General Introduction: the Director Mira Nair Starting Questions Monsoon Wedding: main idea Love in Modern India Punjabi Families Wedding and Sensual Enjoyment of Life City, Race and Class The film’s connections with “Gainda” and “Her Mother” Mira Nair: Mira Nair Born in Orissa, went to Dehli U. and Harvard 11 years in Uganda, now in New York. Started with documentaries（記錄片）; Salaam Bombay! 早安孟買 －－ Camera d‘Or at Cannes坎城金棕櫚大獎 in 1988 and an Academy Award nomination Mississippi Masala: America as a big Masala, conflicts between the two specific group of diaspora(離散族群), Afro-Americans and Indians. Note: masala為重口味香料; Bollywood film is called masala film Mira Nair (2): Mira Nair (2) Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love: 性典 –very controversial Most recent one: Vanity Fair. (浮華世界) Nair on Monsoon Wedding: Nair on Monsoon Wedding dedicates “Monsoon Wedding,” to her Punjabi family in New Delhi (新德里), "We Punjabi are the butt of many jokes, for we are an aggressive, loud people, peasant people, known for our lusty appetite for life. The Punjabis are to India what the Italians are to Europe. The film is an homage to major vulgarity," she laughed. 獻給Punjabi家人。Punjabi 積極、聲音大、土包子，對生命的胃口很大。 (source: http://www.mirabaifilms.com/articles.html ) Nair on Monsoon Wedding: Nair on Monsoon Wedding hand-held camera; 手持攝影機，以呈現印度的多樣性。 “Mostly to achieve mobility（活動性） and fluidity（流動性） that would link the multiplicity of Indian life, the hybridity（雜多）that is in our music, our location and our languages. India is a fantastic place because we have opened our doors to people from all over the world - before the British, after the British - and now, with American globalization. We absorb, we borrow, we assimilate, we plagiarize and we steal, and somehow twist it all to make something that is inimitably Indian. "This is the mood I wanted to capture in the multilayered stories, and this kind of camera can take us fluidly from a five-star hotel to the crowded streets of old Delhi; it's a way to link the family's intimate drama to the world.“ (source: ( http://www.mirabaifilms.com/articles.html ) Monsoon Wedding --trivia: Monsoon Wedding --trivia Exhausting 30-day heat and dust schedule. 20-day workshop (with Yoga in the morning), 10-day shooting, with professional actors, starting actors mixed with non-professionals and relatives. About four scenes were damaged at the customs by X-Ray. Only one (the dancing scene) was restored at a very large price (paid by the insurance). The other three were re-shot. When re-shooting the scenes, she got more of Dehli street scenes into her film. Her family participated by delivering home cooking to the set each day. A lot of paintings, costumes, furniture were on loan from the family. Lalit—modeled after her brother. Varun—her cousin. Starting Questions : Starting Questions It’s an enjoyable film, isn’t it? What do you like best about the film? Is there anything you don’t like? Love & Arranged Marriage: Undoubtedly this is a comedy, but why are there troublesome, sad, dangerous and even sinister elements lurking here and there in it? How many kinds of love are there in the film? Singing and the Sensual Enjoyment of Life: The singing and dancing is quite enjoyable, too. Have you noticed how many people sing in this film and the occasions in which they do so? Customs and Class: What do you think about the wedding, which lasts for many days? Would you like to be in the bride’s position? Monsoon Wedding: presentsIndia as “Masala” with : Monsoon Wedding: presents India as “Masala” with Love of all kinds, families of different cultures sensual pleasures and contradictions in life and society. Monsoon Wedding: Monsoon Wedding 威尼斯影展金獅獎 Plot: The wedding of Aditi Verma, the result of arranged marriage, concerns everyone in the family, but not Aditi herself, who cannot separate herself from her ex-lover. The main characters: five women with their families and the men connected with them. From Left to Right: Aditi, Ria, Ayesha, Alyia, Alice Theme I: Love : Theme I: Love The beginning scenes--Lalit’s nervous arrangement of the wedding and Aditi’s going to a TV studio--sets the tone of the film: that in modern India, different people hold different views on love. (Arranged marriage is still popular, but pornography, adult film [A 片] and extra-marital affairs are, too.) Love (1): Aditi Verma, Hemant Rai, Vikram Mehta : Love (1): Aditi Verma, Hemant Rai, Vikram Mehta The good mix: -- A beautiful girl in Dehli, matched with a handsome computer engineer from Texas. -- Hemant is able to understand her hurt feelings and that marriage is a risk, whether arranged or not. The dangerous moves: -- arranged marriage; -- meeting her ex-lover the night before wedding; --Police investigation Vikram, actually does not want to give up his marriage at all. The Ironies : The Ironies While the parents are expressing their love for the children, While the mother prepares dowry (sari and silver forks and spoons) for Aditi, Aditi starts to go out; Ayesha tries to seduce Rahul. The bride and groom talk about breaking up. Love (2): Alice (the maid) & P.K.Dubey (tent contractor): Love (2): Alice (the maid) & P.K.Dubey (tent contractor) Presented as Romantic and Miraculous: Marigold (金盞橘) --both like to eat it—Dubey eats it whole, and Alice, its heart. (see next page) The slow motion (*clip 1) Exchanges – water, names. Alice thought of as a thief. Neither of them knows how to express their love. Note: Marigold--古埃及人認為它有醫療上的價值；印度人用它來裝飾廟宇； 波斯和希臘人用它增加食物的色澤和風味；在美國內戰時，戰地醫師曾用 它的葉片來治療傷口。在歐美的沙拉中，它也扮演了增色的效果。 可幫助女性生理期間擁有清爽自由的心情，與其他花茶或茶類搭配， 可增加花色燦爛的觀感 。 Dubey and Alice –Flower : Dubey and Alice –Flower Love (2): Alice & P.K.Dubey—The Contradictory or Humorous: Love (2): Alice & P.K.Dubey— The Contradictory or Humorous When Alice serves water, Dubey cannot show his emotion among his co-workers. Alice appears to be brighter when she helps Dubey fixes the wire. In Gender Relation— 性別關係 Love (2): Alice & P.K.Dubey—The Contradictory or Humorous: Love (2): Alice & P.K.Dubey— The Contradictory or Humorous Dubey –the most romantic way Dubey the practical – a man on the move, very practical when it comes to money. (*clip 2) -- quite coarse; smelling the flowers with their plastic covers on. Love (3): Ayesha Verma & Rahul Chadha (from Australia): Love (3): Ayesha Verma & Rahul Chadha (from Australia) Ayesha -- sexy and seductive With pride in herself. When Rahul finally dances energetically to the Bhangra music, she says, “We‘ve finally made an Indian of you.”我們總算把你變成印度人。 Why does she leave at the point of love-making? To be tantalizing （吊胃口） or self-restraining? Love (4, 5): Ria Verma, Aliya Verma & Tej Puri: Love (4, 5): Ria Verma, Aliya Verma & Tej Puri The dangerous element— Tej, who appears to be a respectable gentleman. The danger gets revealed by and by Ria looks surprised and uneasy when first seeing Tej; Ria does not thank Tej upon hearing his offer to pay for her studies; Ria interrupts Tej’s feeding Aliya; Aliya’s talking about kissing; Love (4, 5): Ria Verma, Aliya Verma & Tej Puri: Love (4, 5): Ria Verma, Aliya Verma & Tej Puri A tragedy of sexual abuse could have happened—had Ria not stopped it by revealing her own traumatic experience. (Who’s to blame, the adults’ negligence? The wedding?) The Other Couples: Lalit Verma & Pimmi Verma: The Other Couples: Lalit Verma & Pimmi Verma Old-Shoe love: argument, little sex, but a lot of mutual comfort and understanding. Theme (2)The Families : Theme (2) The Families The Bride’s family: The Groom: Mohan Rai & Saroj Rai Hemant Rai Sashi & C.L. Chadha Rahul & Umang Old neighbor The Families (1): Punjabi family: The Families (1): Punjabi family Close-Knit (團結) but spread in many places; Patriarchal (父系社會的，male-centered), but with strong women. Family meeting (clip 3) shows a Punjabi family and their traditional values: Supportive of (or intervening into) Ria’s decision, which should be her personal business; Marriage more important than having a career; materialistic (winning Booker Prize 英國的布克獎means getting a million dollars). The Family Members: (1) Lalit: The Family Members: (1) Lalit E.g. (1): Lalit as a patriarchal – loving, critical, and seems to be in command of everything. (e.g. calls Rahul “idiot” all the time; blames his brother for being late, scolds Varun, too); Traditional– does not like Varun’s interest in cooking and dancing. “Why don’t you play some crickets?” Cares a lot about his family, but has to re-define ‘family togetherness’ after the Tej incidence. Weak inside –worried about money; blame his wife for his own upsetting Varun (“Why don’t you say something?”) The Family Members(2): C.L.Chadha & Shashi Chadha: The Family Members(2): C.L.Chadha & Shashi Chadha Unhappy about Lalit’s scolding Rahul. Come back from Middle-East, so in gaudy dress. Rahul –in Australia; Umang in the U.S. The Family Members (3):: The Family Members (3): The wild and a bit coarse: Uxorious (怕太太的) luxorious, 應該是 luxurious. The British and the elegant: Theme (3): Wedding -- Formalities & the sensual pleasures : Theme (3): Wedding -- Formalities & the sensual pleasures Wedding: Negative: Time consuming and expensive (as Lalit has to loan money from his friends) Nerve-wracking. (With Lalit shouting at Dubey all the time, and Pimmi smoking in the restroom to ease her tension.) In all the tiring rituals, sometimes the bride and bridegroom look a bit like puppets (傀儡). Hemann says he is asked to ‘eat’ all the time, and Aditi says she only wants to sleep. The bride, especially, gets burdened with jewelry on the day of the wedding. Wedding –The Elaborate Ceremony: Wedding – The Elaborate Ceremony Gift-Exchange, meeting the elderly and wearing jewelry Wedding –The Elaborate Ceremony: Wedding – The Elaborate Ceremony 2. Eating something sweet, 3. Preparation: buying sari, setting up the tent for an outdoor wedding Wedding –The Elaborate Ceremony: Wedding – The Elaborate Ceremony The bridegroom’s riding a horse, with the guests throwing marigold at the procession; The wedding garland Wedding –The Elaborate Ceremony: Wedding – The Elaborate Ceremony Fire for purification and praying for felicity. Tying a knot: 連理 Theme (3): Wedding & the sensual pleasures : Theme (3): Wedding & the sensual pleasures Wedding: Positive: an occasion for family reunion, photo-taking, paying respect to the dead. Beautiful singing Hand painting ceremony (mehindi) A song about a bride’s leaving. Other occasions for singing: Singing at the dinner table of the family reunion; The tent-workers sing to tease Dubey. Wedding –The Communal Celebration: Wedding – The Communal Celebration * clip – please pay attention to The color arrangement of this group of women; How they sing happily with a song and tell jokes with sexual connotations; How Alice, as a maid, cannot join or enjoy the singing. Wedding: the Sensual Enjoyment of Life : Wedding: the Sensual Enjoyment of Life Sangeet: a night of dancing and singing (till early morning) Wedding: the Sensual Enjoyment of Life : Wedding: the Sensual Enjoyment of Life The wedding procession and the guests dancing in the rain: Theme (4): City, Class and Race : Theme (4): City, Class and Race The film is an expression of love for the city, as we can see from the many city scenes in it. However, we should not ignore the possible problems regarding gender, class and race lurking beneath its apparent merriness. Gender –discussed, arranged marriage and sexual abuse. Class and Race: Dubey and Alice as examples. Dehli -- The City an Interesting Mess like Taipei?: Dehli -- The City an Interesting Mess like Taipei? The Crowd, polluted air, electric wire and cows Street Scenes--Diversity: Street Scenes--Diversity The old (market place, tricycle) and the new (boulevard) Street Scenes--Diversity: Street Scenes--Diversity The old (old Dehli, the kite festival) and the new (golf park in New Dehli) Street Scenes--Diversity: Street Scenes--Diversity Two kinds of bulletin board: Bollywood (Indian) and Modern (International) Street Scenes--Diversity: Street Scenes--Diversity The spiritual (meditator), the cute (kid), as well as the disturbing (sexist). Class and Race: Dubey–his Social Mobility : Class and Race: Dubey–his Social Mobility Dubey–his Confinement : Dubey–his Confinement Framed: By the walls, the gate and his mother’s nagging. Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class : Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class The mirror scene: With all the dignity and intelligence, Alice is always confined—by her class and by her gender. (* clip) e.g. gaze at the mirror, peeped at by the other men. Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class : Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class Class and Religious differences: Alice: a Christian Dubey: a Hindi The cross (with marigold) in her room. He has an Hindi name—very long. Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class : Dubey and Alice: Still Confined to their Class The final scene—Lalit dancing with Alice—”seems” too good to be true—Indian society has changed so much? The Alice (maid) figure in another film Earth by Deepa Mehta (based on a autobiography Cracking the Earth)—in Lahore (dominated by Muslims), she, a Hindi, is dragged by a crowd away from home to an unknown fate. The Dubey figure in another text: The God of Small Things. --(微物之神)”the untouchable” in it. The film’s connections with “Gainda” “Her Mother” and Us: The film’s connections with “Gainda” “Her Mother” and Us Family relations, women’s position both “Gainda” and “Her Mother” The life of a maid servant, wedding and love beyond one’s class identity “Gainda” The relationship between oversea Indians and their parents “Her Mother.” How is the film related to us? Besides getting to know the diversity and possible conflicts in modern India, we can turn around and examine the wedding ceremonies, family structures, racial conflicts in our cities and society. Do our Filipino maids get as much dignity as the film does to Alice? Are there elements in our wedding ceremonies and marriages which can energize and enrich our lives? Thanks. : Thanks. Enjoy Learning!