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Loins of Punjab Presents (2007)
In the course of the few days of a talent contest to decide the American Desi idol we see how the individual journeys change, even define, the lives of the contestants.
I saw the film quite by chance and was laughing out loud within the first 2 minutes. But to say that the film is very funny is to understate the case. It works on several levels thanks to deft observations of character supported by superb ensemble performances. Ostensibly about a group of hopefuls in a talent contest it explores much more than what the narrative declares. We see and, more importantly, feel the emotional trajectories of several lives as they jostle for their place in the spotlight. Each has a special, individual reason for being there. But, in the course of the few days of the contest, we see how essentially the journeys (rather than the end result) change, even define, these lives. The separate (but interlinked) stories propel the film on the narrative level. But if "Loins of Punjab Presents" had limited itself to simply telling these stories it would have fallen into the genre trap of the "feel-good" film. It would then have been enjoyable but ephemeral. The greater, and more lasting, joy of the film is the manner in which it springboards off the several dramas to comment on a range of contemporary obsessions. In a genre that is weighed down by cliché and triteness, this film stands out for being fresh,warm and, happily, the right length.