Directed by Mira Nair, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Vasundhara Das, Shefali Shetty, Vijay Raaz, Tilotama Shome and Parvin Dabas.
Those with wedding plans but who find themselves driven mad by their parents should spare a thought for New Delhi mum and dad Pimmi and Lalit Verma (Dubey and Shah). They're presiding over the nuptials of daughter Aditi (Das) and US-based engineer Hermant (Dabas) but things aren't going to plan. Lalit's blood pressure is up because the rains are coming, the guests must arrive from all over the world, the wedding organiser P K Dubey (Raaz, superb as India's answer to Huggy Bear) is slacking off and with every passing minute Lalit's falling deeper into debt. And he isn't even aware of the biggest problem of all – Aditi doesn't want the arranged union and is having an affair with a TV presenter.
Winner of the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Festival, Nair's film is a brighter than life examination of love, romance and secrets in a Punjabi clan. Shot on handheld cameras, it takes some time to get used to the many bodies moving through the Verma household and you'll spend the first half-hour of the film trying to figure out who's who. Once things settle down, Nair constructs five delicate but engrossing subplots which all link back to the central event. Each revolves around a relationship and through them Nair contrasts the old and new and things said and unspoken in family life. Tough issues like adultery, child abuse and the weight of tradition are tackled, but it is to her credit that they never overtake the celebratory nature of the story.
Despite the film being cast-heavy each actor manages to carve out their own special place in the proceedings and you'll find yourself feeling like an invited guest, dipping in and out of their lives and wondering - like Lalit - whether the rain will stay off. Of course it doesn't, but in a film awash with colour, it signals a superb ending and provides the family with a cleansing from the history which has gone before.
Charming, infectious and the best day out you'll have this year.