What’s a feel-good romantic comedy if not a big scoop of yummy ice cream? They restore our faith in romance and the goodness of the world, while making us laugh. Wedding Season, the newest addition to Netflix’s long list of rom-coms, does all of the above while pleading to follow your heart, even if it might not live up to the company’s idea of success.
Set in New Jersey, this film is as much about the insecurities and aspirations of desi parents as it is about young second-generation American Indians who pursue their dreams and choose to live a life they see fit. To stave off talkative aunts and constant parental pressure to go through the rigmarole of arranged marriage, Asha (Pallavi Sharda) and Ravi (Suraj Sharma) decide to pretend to date during the series of wedding celebrations planned for this season. One is his sister Priya with Nick, a white man who will stop at nothing until he learns Indian customs – from speaking Hindi to making aloo-gobi and pray in a temple.
Given the nature of this genre, it’s no surprise that the story takes a certain course – especially when pretension gives way to romance between Asha and Ravi – and there are some familiar tropes. However, what makes it an enjoyable weekend is the chemistry between the main cast, Sharda and Sharma. Asha’s character, in particular, is carefully crafted even though the film glosses over many other aspects of the narrative.
Asha is not a “simple girl at heart,” as her resume posted by her mother on a dating site claims, but someone who is a workaholic and lacks cooking skills. But by ordering sloppy burgers, she can calculate the taxes and the final amount before the bill shows it. After quitting her job as a banker, she wants to make a difference through micro-financing. 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. Ravi understands her career aspirations and is an ally pushing her to achieve it.
By learning to trust each other, parents also learn to respect their children’s choices even if they do not correspond to their expectations. It’s heart-warming when Asha’s father (played by Manji) pours out 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
Cast: Pallavi Sharda, Suraj Sharma, Rizwan Manji