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Nice Arrangement, A (1991)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Bradford, the early nineties. On the street, a woman resident complains to two men about the noise coming from the neighbourhood. One of the men says that is the fortieth Indian wedding he has seen that year.

At home, preparations are underway for the wedding ceremony of Meena and Ajay. Meena tells Auntie Sita, who is helping her get ready, that all of their relatives are becoming hysterical about the wedding and treating her as if she were in a freak show. They mock and imitate their 'Auntie's overbearing Indian ways. Sita overhears two 'Aunties' gossiping about her divorce, blaming Sita for the marriage ending. Baby, Meena's younger sister, is embarrassed to discover that her father has put childhood photos of her and her sister on the wall.

Meena tells Sita that she would have preferred a register office wedding, but Sita impresses upon her the importance of Indian ritual and reminds her that she agreed to marry Ajay. Meena mentions Hasheem, a Muslim man who was her boyfriend for two years, with whom she is still in love, and who is also to be married by arrangement. She tells Sita that marrying someone else will not stop her loving Hasheem.

Sita talks about her lack of regret over her own marriage, even though it ended in divorce: she is now independent, with a career, and happy. Meena explains that all she wants from Ajay is respect and a good father for her child. One of the Auntie-gossips enters Meena's bedroom to give her "sindoor" (vermillion powder traditionally put on the bride's forehead).

Meena finally "makes her entrance" to her chanting relatives, wearing a bright red sari and a plethora of gold jewelry. Her mother hands her a bouquet of flowers, which Meena thinks are from Ajay. She gets upset when she realises that they are from Hasheem wishing her good luck for her big day. All the guests leave for the wedding venue.