About the FilmPainted Bride features the exquisite mehndi body painting tradition as it is practiced among Pakistani immigrants living in Queens, New York City. The film follows a mehndi artist, Shenaz Hooda, as she prepares a henna paste and paints intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride-to-be, while the bride's friends sing humorous songs mocking the groom and the future in-laws.
The film also explores the important role played by mehndi artists, like Hooda, who help to make traditional wedding customs possible in immigrant Indian and Pakistani communities. It follows Hooda as she moves between her job in a drug store, a public school where she demonstrates her art to students, the wedding party of a young bride, and her own wedding party, exploring the tensions between American and Pakistani ideas about gender, clothing, custom, and ritual.
Painted Bride is a short version of a 40 minute video titled Wedding Song by the MIT Anthropologist Susan Slyomovics.