Social Issues in the Movie Monsoon Wedding

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Monsoon Wedding, a Bollywood film directed by Mira Nair and released in 2001, earned just above $30 million at the box office [1]. The film brilliantly depicts romantic entanglements during a traditional Punjabi wedding in Delhi, while delicately handling sensitive issues such as child-abuse, pre-arranged marital infidelity, growing old and striving to be different as an upper middle class Indian boy, or being a flirtatious, bored but basically settled NRI (non-resident Indian) housewife. The film won the Golden Lion award and received a Golden Globe Award nomination, achieving a total of six wins and ten nominations [2]. An important issue highlighted in the background of Monsoon Wedding is the heinous and inhuman crime of child abuse. Being a Mira Nair film, it was more than just a romantic comedy depicting the norms and values of a typical yet somewhat westernized Indian society. Coming from art films and documentaries, the director tried her level best to depict the plague that shames not only today’s India, but almost every other country in the world. Analogous to real life, the movie stresses upon the fact that children are usually abused by someone they know and are familiar to Ria, the bride’s sister, who was abused as a child by a figure who was the assumed patriarch of the family. Years later, the patriarch returned, abusing yet another child, Aliya. A person living in India or a third world country; not having experienced this violent crime in some form themselves, may argue that the idea of a patriarch abusing a member of the family is a little farfetched and exaggerated. He may go on to say that people tend to value family and relatives. Studies, however, show that offenders are usually known to the child in some capacity; be it at home, school or neighborhood. A study conducted in Idaho in 2007 shows that 82% of the juvenile sex offenders were known to their victims [3]. Mostly they are a relative or an acquaintance that the child trusts. The study...
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