Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair has described her beautiful family drama as "a Bollywood film, made on my terms." It's a pretty apt description, though on the surface the subtly acted art house picture may seem to have very little in common with the elaborately choreographed musical productions for which the Indian film industry is famous. Whereas Bollywood products are generally characterized by broadly painted heroes and villains, Nair's characters are among the most three-dimensional and honestly realized in international cinema. They are not the sort of people who populate Bollywood entertainments, but they are the sort of people who pay to see them. They don't burst simultaneously into song, but they do dance to Indian pop music in their living rooms. They do belt out traditional celebratory songs at wedding parties. What Monsoon Wedding shares with Bollywood is its appreciation of India's deeply rooted cultural enthusiasm for song and dance. The soundtrack reflects the delightfully broad spectrum of the music that plays on middle-class stereos all over modern India. There is a thumping electronic Hindi disco tune, a soaring orchestral romantic ballad from the vinyl era, an infectiously melodious contemporary pop duet, and a festive traditional spiritual performed by the internationally revered Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn. But most impressive of all is the film's original music. Sukhvinder Singh's rousing theme song, "Aaj Mera Jee Kardaa," expertly weaves traditional folk elements with sleek pop rhythms and strings. In a perfect alternate reality, it would probably be an Oscar winner. So would Mychael Danna's score. A recent Hindu groom himself and one of the most innovative composers in North American cinema, Danna elevates Nair's naturalistic hand-held camera narrative to a transcendent spiritual plane. The mystical "Fuse Box" almost single-handedly accomplishes the task of transforming the clownish wedding planner P.K. Dubey from a hilarious marigold-eating Indian version of Martin Short's Father of the Bride character to a thoroughly credible and even charming romantic lead. Unfortunately, that exquisite melody is hyped up to the point of tedium in two pounding techno remixes at the conclusion of the soundtrack album. They are a regrettable misstep in an otherwise brilliant compilation.
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AllMusic Review by Evan Cater
Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Hai (Today the weather plays tricks on me)~As used in the film Monsoon Wedding
feat: Mohammed Rafi