What’s a feel-good rom-com if not a big scoop of delicious ice cream? They restore our belief in the romance and goodness of the world and make us smile. Wedding Season, the latest addition to Netflix’s long list of rom-coms, does all of that while making a strong case for following your heart, even if it might not fit society’s idea of success.
Set in New Jersey, this film is about the insecurities and aspirations of Desi parents as well as young second generation Indians who follow their dreams and choose a life they believe is right. To stave off gossiping aunts and constant parental pressure to wade through the ramblings of an arranged marriage, Asha (Pallavi Sharda) and Ravi (Suraj Sharma) decide to hook up during this season’s upcoming wedding celebrations. One of them is that of her sister Priya with Nick, a white man who will stop at nothing until he has learned the Indian way of life – from speaking Hindi to making aloo-gobi to praying in a temple.
Given the nature of this genre, it’s not surprising that the story follows a certain path – especially when the semblance of romance between Asha and Ravi gives way – and there are familiar tropes. However, what makes it an enjoyable weekend is the chemistry between the leads Sharda and Sharma. The character of Asha, in particular, is created with care, although the film glosses over many other aspects of the story.
Asha is not “a simple girl at heart” as her resume, posted by her mother on a marriage website, claims, but someone who is a workaholic and has no knowledge of the kitchen. But while ordering sloppy burgers, she can calculate the taxes and the final amount before the bill shows it. After quitting her plum banking job, she wants to make a difference through microfinance. The real triumph of this film, however, is that Asha doesn’t have to face the dilemma of whether to pursue her career or her love interest. Ravi understands her professional ambitions and is an ally, spurring her on to achieve them.
As they learn to trust one another, parents also learn to respect their children’s choices, even when they don’t meet their expectations. It’s heartwarming when Asha’s father (played by Manji) reveals his heart to his daughter and talks about the setbacks he’s faced in his career. This film romanticizes weddings as much as it allows its characters to challenge the traditional notions associated with them.
Director: Tom Dey
Pour: Pallavi Sharda, Suraj Sharma, and Rizwan Manji