Wedding Season Review: Indian matchmaking, made in the USA

Wedding Season invites you to take a peek into the lives of a couple of young Indian-Americans who pretend to be in love just to get their families off their backs



by

Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 6:04 PM

The subcontinent’s largest import to the West — other than the brain drain — is perhaps the big fat wedding. Not just the event, or the series of events leading up to it, but the entire gamut of conversations, mindsets, setups, all of which can be categorised under the umbrella of matchmaking. No amount of time spent in a “different” culture has managed to rob the flavour of desi matchmaking, and it’s a torch that seems to get handed down from generation to generation — never mind that most of these (in this case) Americans of Indian, or South Asian, origin have been born and raised in the US.

The movie follows the path of Asha (Pallavi Sharda), who, much to the chagrin of her mother, has chucked up her high-paying Wall Street job to take up a (lower-paying) position with an NGO in New Jersey because she hopes to change lives. It comes in the wake of a breakup, and this is Asha’s way of moving ahead. But her parents — alongside the rest of the intrusive-yet-well-intentioned community — are keen that the 28-year-old start looking for a suitable groom now that even her younger sister Priya (Arianna Afsar) is about to get hitched to an American (Sean Kleier).

There are various attempts to get Asha “into the marriage market”, including her mother posting an online profile of hers describing her in words that would catch the fancy of a ‘traditional’ Indian man: “simple”, “good cook”, “with family values” etc. Asha is also told that she should be checking out prospective hubbies at the many (19, she calculates, including her sister’s) weddings the family has been invited to — now that it’s “wedding season”. Obviously, she’s flustered since she’d rather concentrate on an upcoming — and very critical — presentation coming up in a few weeks.

When she realises that one of the prospects her parents has lined up for her — Ravi (Suraj Sharma) — is similarly flustered (and under pressure), she gangs with him to pretend that they like each other (when they are actually like chalk and cheese, and cannot even sit at the same table for more than a couple of minutes) and are considering a future together. That way, they both reckon, their families and the community at large will be off their backs, and they can weather the dreaded wedding season — and then go their separate ways.

Of course, things don’t go according to plan — which is what the movie is all about. But along the way, there are funny insights into the mental maps of a bunch of immigrants who refuse to outgrow their roots, even as their next generation get exasperated and eventually have to fall in line on account of emotional blackmail.

Wedding Season is predictable, a little hackneyed and clichéd most of the time, but yet it’s feel-good and engaging, with a (mostly) smart screenplay and pretty great acting chops on display. There’s even some amount of ‘woke’ soul-searching: stuff related to feminism, racism, and the zillennial zeal for bucking conventional trends — none of which are ground-breaking or eye-opening but sweetly relatable in the modern context.

sushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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