Each of the products that you see here in the Official Monsoon Wedding Store have been three years in the making, designed curated and crafted carefully, and brought in all the way from New Delhi. They are made keeping in mind the soul of the film, and the flair of the musical. Each is truly a coming together of both worlds, musical theatre and cinema. 

We have made them in the hope that you will live and love them, as we have, and carry a part of our exciting, masti filled journey to your homes.

Mira Nair

Mira Nair is an Academy-Award nominated director best known for her visually dense films that pulsate with life. Her debut feature, Salaam Bombay! (1988) won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, followed by the groundbreaking Mississippi Masala, the Golden Globe & Emmy-winning Hysterical Blindness (2001) and the international hit Monsoon Wedding (2001), for which she was the first woman to win Venice Film Festival’s coveted Golden Lion. A fiercely independent filmmaker, she then made Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), Queen of Katwe (2016), and A Suitable Boy (2020). In 2022, Nair directed the pilot of National Treasure for DisneyPlus, and produced and directed a production of the stage musical of Monsoon Wedding in Doha, Qatar. Future projects include The Jungle Prince of Delhi and Monsoon Wedding the Musical, heading to Off-Broadway at St Ann's Warehouse this spring. Her next feature film is an experimental portrait of the artist Amrita Sher-Gil. An activist by nature, Nair founded Salaam Baalak Trust for street children in 1989, and the Maisha Film Lab in East Africa to train film makers on the continent in 2004. In 2012, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour.
If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.

"I began in the theatre and after several decades of making films, have returned to the theatre. Tired of seeing mostly Western stories on the world stage, I wondered: for our own absurdly rich sub-continental culture - so marinated in story-telling and gaana-bajana - why can’t we have our own “Fiddler on the Roof”?

This is our offering: Monsoon Wedding, the Musical. In 2006, five years after my film Monsoon Wedding spun its way into millions of hearts across the globe, I was inspired to make it as a stage musical with a brilliant, iconoclastic team: Vishal Bhardwaj, legendary Indian composer, has given us music, Arpita Mukherjee and Sabrina Dhawan have crafted a layered book, and Masi Asare and Susan Birkenhead have woven lyrics of the in-between worlds we live in,  to make our film come alive on stage.

This journey originated in New Delhi, the city that inspired its story, to New York for a series of musical workshops, to Berkeley, California where we first performed 100 shows in 2017,  bringing it back home to Delhi for a workshop in 2019. We were all set to open in London in 2020, when theatre had to close its doors for 3 years. Last year the musical was invited by Sheikha Al-Mayassa as a part of special projects being curated for FIFA World Cup 2020 in Qatar, which enabled the musical to eventually premiere in my home city of New York, in what I consider a temple of inspiration for the theater - St. Ann’s Warehouse. 

In the beautiful collision that is Monsoon Wedding, the bride and the groom meet across oceans, both having their own vision of India and America. At its core, our story is about love. I think of the musical as imbuing four kinds of love: what I call “old shoe love”— the neglected love between the father and mother of the bride that is rekindled again; the love between the groom and the bride that is arranged but could ignite; the nonmaterial, pure love over a flower - of Alice and Dubey, the maid and the tent man. And unfortunately, the twisted love that has never been love at all but has afflicted so many families everywhere. 

People see themselves in the story of this family because it is a universal story: of a family that does not want to break despite the vicissitudes of life. In Monsoon Wedding, the story of this family is told in a combination of great truth and great fun. Fun is critical, but cannot mask darker things. We strive for a beautiful balance between silence and music, darkness and joy. That is what I hope to create onstage—a feeling of masti, an intoxication with life.

Punjabis are the party animals of India. We work hard but party even harder. In 1947, when India achieved independence from the British, because of an arbitrary line drawn by an Englishman, Punjab was divided into India and Pakistan. In 1951, my father was part of the first cadre of civil service officers. Back then, in Nehruvian times, postings were secular—if you belonged to North India, you would be posted anywhere but there. So there they were, my Punjabi parents, shipped off to the east of India, Bhubaneswar, where I was born. 

Like most households, ours had its unique daily patterns. Every morning, my father would proclaim the break of day by playing Gandhi’s hymn ‘Om Jai Jagdish.’ By the time we siblings were ready for school, he would be fixed to his gramophone which oscillated between the captivating voice of the great Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano to the salt-and-crackle charm of Begum Akhtar’s ghazals. Added to this were the thumris of Lakshmi Shankar and the haunting film songs of Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa. This diversity and mosaic of the sound of our people has always seeped into my work, from my first documentary in 1979 to Monsoon Wedding today. 

In my work, I've always treated cities like protagonists. Whether it was the Delhi of Monsoon Wedding, the Calcutta of Namesake or the Bombay of Salaam Bombay, I have tried to reveal the syncretic characters of each city through the story. Through this juxtaposition of people, culture, religion and architecture, we navigate through a hybrid nation that is built on bringing the old and new traditions together. The India I knew was a place that celebrated the heterogeneity of its traditions, languages and cultures but today's India is terribly different. In the 21st century, even after the Partition ruptured its core, syncretism is still with us, we just have to try harder to find it. 

This idea of transcending borders is reflected in the show. The first song we ever wrote was The Heart Knows, in the style of qawwali, about a nation that is arbitrarily divided, although both sides continue to nourish each other. That is the style of our show, a tapestry of music which combines raag, thumri, khayal, qawwali, the pulse of Indian pop, and the anthem of the young, Pasoori. Our performance styles, too, are an amalgam of many traditions meeting the strictest norms of American musical theater. Our story is not only about the collusion of India meeting America, but of the many Indias meeting each other. Our stunning cast from across India and the American diaspora reflects exactly that.

This musical is the ultimate bridge making project. We have painstakingly brought together a dream team of collaborators — scenic designer Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting designer Bradley King, projection designer David Bengali, costume designer Arjun Bhasin, sound designer David Schnirman, Shampa Gopikrishna as choreographer and Carrie-Anne Ingrouille as movement director. Alongside Vishal Bhardwaj’s music that illuminates the show, there are three hit songs from the film Monsoon Wedding by the Oscar-winning composer Mychael Danna. Jamshied Sharifi, the Tony Award-winning orchestrator of The Band’s Visit, has created the orchestration alongside Rona Siddiqui, and the Music Producer is my OG Sunny Jain whose big brass sound of his band Red Baraat inspired me from the very beginning. The score is masterfully conducted by our own rosy-cheeked Honorary Punjabi: Music Director, Emily Whitaker. 

It feels good to be making an antidepressant. After everything we have collectively been through with the pandemic, the world could use some joy right now!

We welcome you tonight to romance, Indian style: rain, colour and tamasha!"

Mira Nair 
New York City 
May 2023