Monsoon Wedding

Monsoon Wedding (Hindi: मानसून वेडिंग) is a 2001 Indian drama film directed by Mira Nair and written by Sabrina Dhawan. The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah and Vasundhara Das. The story depicts romantic entanglements during a traditional Punjabi Hindu wedding in Delhi. Dhawan wrote the first draft of the screenplay in a week while she was at Columbia University's MFA film program.[8] Although it is set entirely in New Delhi, the film was an international co-production between companies in India, the United States, Italy, France, and Germany.

Monsoon Wedding
Directed byMira Nair
Produced byCaroline Baron
Mira Nair
Written bySabrina Dhawan
StarringNaseeruddin Shah
Lillete Dubey
Shefali Shah
Vasundhara Das
Vijay Raaz
Tillotama Shome
Randeep Hooda
Rajat Kapoor
Jas Arora
Music byMychael Danna
CinematographyDeclan Quinn
Edited byAllyson C. Johnson
Mirabai Films
Delhi Dot Com[1]
Distributed byUSA Films
Release date
30 August 2001
(première at Venice)
30 November 2001
Running time
113 minutes
BudgetUS$1.2 million[6]
Box officeUS$30,787,356[7]

Monsoon Wedding earned above $30 million at the box office.[7] The film won the Golden Lion award and received a Golden Globe Award nomination. A musical based on the film was in development and was premiered on Broadway in April 2014.[9] The film was premiered in the Marché du Film section of the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.[10][11] In 2017, IndieWire named it the best romance of the 21st century.[12]


The film's central story deals with the organisation of an enormous, chaotic, and expensive wedding that is due to take place in a modern Indian family. Lalit Verma (Naseeruddin Shah) and his wife Pimmi (Lillete Dubey) have arranged a marriage for their daughter Aditi (Vasundhara Das) to Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas). Hemant is the son of a family friend who lives in Texas, and Aditi has only known him for a few weeks. As so often happens in Indian culture, such a wedding means that, for one of the few times in each generation, the extended family comes together from all corners of the globe, bringing its emotional baggage along.

Lalit and Pimmi are helped with the main planning by Pimmi's sister Shashi and her husband C.L (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), who have arrived earlier from Oman. A few days before the engagement, Tej Puri (Rajat Kapoor), Lalit's extremely wealthy brother-in-law, arrives from the U.S.. Tej is married to Lalit's sister and has helped the Verma family regain their financial footing after the Partition of India left them penniless many years ago. Tej offers to pay for Aditi's cousin, Ria Verma (Shefali Shah) to attend university in the U.S., after the family consults him for advice. Ria and her mother live with the Verma family, who took them in after the death of Ria's father. Despite his generous offer, Ria stays away from Tej and is not comfortable in his presence.

Lalit begins experiencing difficulty in paying for the final, smaller aspects of the wedding and is embarrassed when he has to borrow money from friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, P.K. Dubey (Vijay Raaz), the eccentric wedding planner, falls in love with Alice, the Vermas' maid. Ria grows concerned after she witnesses what appears to be Tej flirting with a younger relative, ten-year-old Aliya. Aditi's younger brother Varun (Ishan Nair) plans an elaborate dance for the pre-wedding party with another cousin, Ayesha (Neha Dubey), but Lalit worries that his son is becoming too effeminate and plans to send him to boarding school. Dubey's workers see Alice trying on Aditi's wedding jewellery, and the men accuse her of stealing. The incident causes her to become withdrawn from Dubey and he grows depressed.

A few days before the wedding, Aditi sleeps with an old lover, her married boss Vikram; and confesses this to Hemant. The incident only serves as a reminder to Aditi as to why she stopped seeing Vikram. Though he is initially angry, Hemant is glad for her honesty and is confident that they can put it behind them and be happy together. The workers apologize to Alice and she reconciles with Dubey. The night before the ceremony, Varun refuses to dance due to the comments made by his father, and Ayesha performs with the help of Rahul (Randeep Hooda), Pimmi's nephew from Australia. Aditi and Hemant grow closer and they share a few intimate moments, which re-affirms their faith in the marriage. After a night of jokes, drama and dances, Ria catches Tej trying to take Aliya for a drive alone. Ria stops them from driving off and takes Aliya away from him, revealing to Lalit and others that Tej had molested her as a child. Lalit's sister does not believe her, attributing her accusations to her character and unmarried status. Emotionally distraught, Ria leaves.

The next day, Lalit pleads with Ria to return to the wedding, admitting that he can't possibly imagine what she has gone through but also saying that he can't disown Tej, since they are family. Ria is not pleased but agrees to return for the sake of Aditi. Hours before the wedding, however, Lalit changes his mind and tells his sister and Tej to leave the wedding and the family home. Tej's wife insists that Ria's accusation was a small matter but Lalit stands his ground.

The Monsoon rains begin as Aditi and Hemant are married in an elaborate wedding, while Dubey and Alice simultaneously wed in a simple ceremony, and later celebrate with the Verma's. Ria moves on from her past life, and is finally able to freely enjoy the festivities.

Critical reception

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds a 95% approval rating, based on 120 reviews by critics, with an average score of 8 out of 10.[13]



The soundtrack includes a qawwali by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a ghazal by Farida Khanum, a Punjabi song by Sukhwinder Singh, an old Indian song by Rafi, a folk dance song. The film includes an Urdu ghazal, Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo (Don't Be So Stubborn About Leaving Today) sung by Pakistani artist Farida Khanum. The song Aaj Mera Ji Karda is recreated by Indian musicians Tanishk Bagchi and Arjunna Harjaie for the film Lucknow Central starring Farhan Akhtar.

All music is composed by Mychael Danna (except where listed).

1."Feels Like Rain" 0:28
2."Kaavaan Kaavaan" (Performed by Sukhwinder Singh)Sukhwinder Singh5:11
3."Baraat" 2:13
4."Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Hai (*) [Today The Weather Plays Tricks on Me]" (Performed by Mohammed Rafi)Laxmikant-Pyarelal (*)3:20
5."Your Good Name" 3:38
6."" 1:41
7."Fuse Box" 2:31
8."Mehndi / Madhorama Pencha" (Performed by Madan Bala Sindhu) 3:26
9."Banished" 0:52
10."Good Indian Girls" 3:41
11."Fabric / Aaja Savariya" (Performed by MIDIval Punditz) 3:01
12."Allah Hoo" (Performed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) 4:39
13."Hold Me, I'm Falling" 2:57
14."Love and Marigolds" 2:45
15."Chunari Chunari (**)" (Performed by Abhijeet and Anuradha Sriram)Anu Malik (**)4:08
16."Aaja Nachle" (Performed by Bally Sagoo feat. Hans Raj Hans)Bally Sagoo3:40
17."Aaj Mera Jee Kardaa - (Zimpala remix)" 4:56
18."Fuse Box - Alex Kid's Dub Remix" 6:14
19."Fuse Box - Julio Black Remix" 3:03
  • (*) Originally featured in the Hindi film Loafer (1973)
  • (**) Originally featured in the Hindi film Biwi No.1 (1999)


The movie won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Mira Nair was the second Indian (after Satyajit Ray for Aparajito) to receive this honour.



Home media

This film was released on DVD in 2002. In 2009, it was released as part of the Criterion Collection.[14]


  1. Kasbekar, Asha (2006). Pop Culture India!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. ABC-CLIO. p. 182. ISBN 9781851096367.
  2. "Monsoon Wedding: Cast and Crew". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. "Monsoon Wedding (2001)". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  4. "Monsoon Wedding (2001) - BFI". British Film Institute. 7 May 2017.
  5. "MONSOON WEDDING - BBFC". BBFC. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. "Monsoon Wedding (2002) - Financial Information".
  7. "Monsoon Wedding". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  8. Muir, John Kenneth (2006). Mercy in her eyes: the films of Mira Nair. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 166–7. ISBN 1-55783-649-3.
  9. Garima Sharma (12 December 2012). "Monsoon Wedding to make Broadway debut in April 2014". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  10. "Sony Classics, USA turn up Cannes buying heat".
  11. " US edition: Monsoon Wedding heads for the US".
  12. Thompson, Michael Nordine, Anne. "Best Romance Movies of the 21st Century, Ranked | IndieWire". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. Monsoon Wedding (2002), retrieved 18 February 2019
  14. "Monsoon Wedding (2001) - The Criterion Collection".
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