‘Monsoon Wedding’ Review: Marriage of Musical Styles, With Mixed Results

A musical is all about the fusion of elements. A story that is too thin melts when mixed with the song. A story that is too heavy does not excite the song. To get the right fizzy blend, the balance must be perfect.

still not Mira Nair’s “Monsoon Wedding” Always busy, sometimes moving, but strangely calm, the production opened Monday at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Its shoddy plotline (drawn from the 2001 Nile film of the same name) and amalgamation of Indian pop and marching band songs are individually brimming with intrigue, but both on their own and with each other. It fails to build and leaves a tangled story of love and duty. Solves as fast as spinning.

Not that this movie was a pith landmark. The arranged marriage of wealthy ‘South Delhi girl’ Aditi Verma (here played by Salena Qureshi) and U.S.-bred Hemant Rai (Deven Korli) is a tumultuous collage of small, colorful It was just one part of the multifamily, multigenerational story that was placed. scene. It didn’t matter how many people went nowhere. It was all about editing.

This musical attempts to squeeze the material into a traditional musical theater format while maintaining its quick-cut effect. Nair told The New York Times that, like “Monsoon Wedding,” the classic “Fiddler on the Roof” depicts the turmoil of a family’s marital life as part of an encounter with community traditions and changes. He said he was inspired by the example of

But Fiddler is based on a collection of short stories with a strong central character, rather than a film about many characters. I can tell the difference. Books on this musical by Arpita Mukherjee and Sabrina Dhawan are everywhere, and with Nehru directing it in an abstract courtyard set by Jason Ardizone-West, it’s hard to tell where it is. The piece seems to think in terms of the camera, as if the lens is still directing the audience’s attention when nothing is actually there.

I don’t know if anything can be done. In addition to the frenzy that frames a grand celebration, the musical, like the film, includes a secondary comic romance between wedding planner Davey and the Burma family’s dressing maid Alice. Notable is the marriage of Aditi’s parents (Gagan Dev Real and Palomi Ghosh), as well as her teenage cousins ​​and gay brothers, step-parents, other relatives, local workers, and (what appears to be) Also noteworthy are the romantic ideas of All about Delhi.

Nile creates a musical-like texture by pulling some of these stories forward and others backward. Aditi’s marriage-threatening issues — she has yet to get over her affair with a married man — have receded for now, essentially fading away on stage, and the crisis has taken a serious sense of tension. It is Instead, she has to move to Hemant’s home in the United States, thus creating a lighter issue of racism. Will she be able to love New Jersey?

Meanwhile, the issues threatening the marriage of Davey (Namit Das) and Alice (Anisha Nagarajan) are elevated from almost indecipherable in the film to very serious in reality. He’s a Hindu and she’s a Christian, which can be tragic. The solution is simple (“The heart doesn’t lie”), but at least it’s in the song.

Sung by Davey’s mother (Sagam Ipshita Bali) to her exhausted son, it’s a lovely song, and in a score that often feels like a jumble of fragments, it has a distinct personality among the 22. It’s one of the few songs. In one, Aditi’s father says goodbye to her on the eve of her wedding, the gorgeous “Madanyan,” which draws the same thread as “Far From Home I Love” in The Fiddler. (Well, not exactly the same strings; his excellent eight-piece band is accentuated by the sitar.)

But gorgeous or not, the score (music by Vishal Bhardwaj, lyrics by Masi Asare and Susan Birkenhead) is as ubiquitous as the script. When the style matches the characters and situations, whether American or Indian, the harmony makes the moment pop. The absurd production number called “Chuk Chuk” (the sound Davey makes as he chases the train to win Alice) is exactly the sound of Bollywood, with cinematic direction (by David Bengal) and frenetic choreography. (by Champa Gopik Krishna) is perfect. A dramatic moment in a sense that allows for a complete lack of logic. A white horse is involved.

Otherwise, the musicalization feels too assertive, too inconclusive, like a passing parade. (The song has so few end buttons that the audience wonders if they should applaud.) Only one of his songs shows a collaborative approach to dramatic experience. The song involves Aditi’s orphaned cousin Lia who was raised as a sister. Serious and studious Ria (Shavali Deshpande) plans to attend New York University, but her main goal is to marry spoiled princess Aditi (“I’ll even iron your pants”). It was a way to escape the expectations of life.

That Leah, too, is escaping a social climate that condones the sexual abuse of girls is a theme Nair stresses more strongly here than in the film. But this is both powerful and erratic, especially in Deshpande’s performance. It’s hard to leap from her cry of “be a good girl” late in the second act to a happy ending with an exquisite saree by Arjun Bhasin, a celebratory remix, and the obligatory double wedding.

How Leah became the central figure in this production (her song is the show’s only solo number) is a bit of a mystery, as if the “violinist” was disowned daughter Chava from the title. seems to have decided to put it on top. Longer scenes (some of which are just her three lines) may have helped explain the change, and our expectations in the drama “Monsoon Wedding” specifically that we don’t want to get married. It might have helped transfer to character.

Still, I have to thank Ria for pulling out the strongest sentences from the authors. In “Leaving Means Returning,” which her stepfather sang to her, “We are your comfort, your courtyard.” is expressed in beautiful phrases. Indeed, genre is both a safe place and a kind of prison. “Monsoon Wedding” is also hard to escape.

monsoon wedding
Until June 25th at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. stans warehouse.org. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes.

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