Film Worksheet #5: Monsoon Wedding
(Handout) Written Assignment - See Course Plan for relevant deadlines

Juanita Student
FA 125, Prof. C. Agatucci
Film Worksheet #5: Monsoon Wedding
19 May 2010


Monsoon Wedding. Dir. Mira Nair. Wr. Carolyn Baron and Mira Nair. Perf. Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shafali Shetty, Vijay Raaz, Tillotama Shome, Vasundhara Das.  IFC [Independent Film Channel] Productions, Mirabai Films, Key Films [Keyfilms Roma], Pandora Films, Paradis Films, 2001. The Criterion Collection, 2009. [Monsoon Wedding and Seven Short Films Director-Approved Special Edition Double-Disc Set.] DVD.

Film Worksheet #5: Monsoon Wedding

Part A. READING ASSIGNMENTRead some film reviews/commentaries on Monsoon Wedding and director Mira Nair, and/or source/s on relevant background topics such as Indian arranged marriages; New Dehli and old Dehli; Punjab and Punjabi culture; the seasonal monsoon rains esp. as related to India; India's colonial history, Indian Independence from U.K. (15 August 1947) and the Partition (of India and Pakistan). 
1.  Describe three or four valuable points you learned from outside source/s, AND identify the source/s* you consulted, AND in-text of Part A indicate clearly which points came from which source/s.*

*CITING SOURCE/S:  Cite your Part A source/s using MLA style models Cora has provided in On Filmography & MLA-Style Citation and film Introduction handouts. 
Be sure to indicate clearly in-text of Part A which points came from which source/s. 

Part B. YOUR FILM VIEWING IMPRESSIONS:  Respond to FOUR of the following topics:

2. Plots/Subplots, Associated Characters, & Endings: Monsoon Wedding is an "ensemble" film crowded with characters and develops five storylines (main plots and subplots). Briefly describe the film's five storylines, identify the characters that figure most prominently in each, and briefly explain how each of these plots/subplots is ended/resolved (or not) at the film's conclusion.

3. Important Scenes/Sequences:  Major challenges for the director are introducing and developing all these stories and characters, cutting back and forth among them, integrating and balancing (big and small) key scenes/sequences of comedy and drama, moving characters and plots forward to their climaxes over the three hectic days and nights of wedding preparations and parties.  Choose and analyze two or three scenes you found significant in developing characters, relationships, and/or storylines.  

4. Different Kinds of Marriages and love affairs (good and bad) are illustrated in Monsoon Wedding. Compare/Contrast two or three of them. Also comment on the film's representation of semi-arranged marriage in contemporary India.

5. "Musti," Delhi, Monsoon Rains - Give examples from the film of the following:  
Director Mira Nair says Monsoon Wedding is an illustration of "musti"--which she translates as intoxication with life--and she calls her Punjabi people the "party animals" of India. 
     5.b Mira Nair has called Monsoon Wedding her "love song to Delhi."
     5.c. As the title suggests, the season is important to the film's events.  Nair has commented that coming of the Monsoon rains breaking the "crippling heat" of summer is a time of "liberation"--in more ways than one.

6.  Family and/or Other Themes: What does Monsoon Wedding have to say about the importance and dynamics of Punjabi families?  Illustrate your observations.  Compare/contrast to U.S. families: what cultural similarities and/or differences do you notice?  Or offer your interpretation of other themes/messages of the film.

7.  Sight, Sound, Techniques - Comment on some of the other aspects of the film: Use of color & costume, striking images, songs/musical scores & dance, hand-held camerawork, filming primarily on location, montages of old and New Delhi, and/or other visual/aural aspects of the film.

8.  Comparison/Contrast - Monsoon Wedding & previous FA 125 films:   Compare/contrast significant similarities and/or significant differences between Monsoon Wedding and one or more of the previous films we've studied so far.

Part C: QUESTIONS/COMMENTSPose at least one thought-provoking discussion question and/or comment on one additional topic (not already addressed above) to enliven our upcoming seminar on Monsoon Wedding.  You might wish to consult the following web source for ideas:

Dembrow, Michael. "Study Questions for Monsoon Wedding." English 197 Film Studies: Contemporary Cinema, Spring 2010; and English 196 Film Studies: Directors, Winter 2008. Dept. of English, Portland Community College-Cascades, 2010. Web. 6 May 2010. <>.

See also Introduction: Monsoon Wedding (handout)

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Last updated: 16 May 2010

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