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An excellent directorial debut
New York City! The 'gold standard' against which other cities in the world are measured. What makes this city so great? The tallest building? Nope. Best transit system? Hell no. Ask anyone who's been to the Big Apple, and they will tell you it is the city's people New Yorkers that make the city what it is; a veritable smörgåsbord of characters (for lack of a better term) you come across walking from one block to the next. Walkaway is a movie that fits in with this definition of New York. The disparate characters of the movie hailing from different Indian cultures are bound by their Indian-ness, in the flexible stencil of the city. They have traveled far, leaving family behind for more money, better careers and standard of life. As they find out during the course of the movie, however, physical distance cannot beat cultural ties.
In working with the issue of Indian weddings, the director has taken what is often considered a defining 'Indian' moment an elaborate Indian arranged marriage and peeled off a layer to expose the audiences to what lies beneath. The film revolves around the central issue of an arranged marriage between a pair of young Indian professionals based in New York, and its inevitable effect on relationships between their friends.
The movie is marketed as an Indian version of Sex and the City. However, the issues tackled in the film are not of petulant, self-indulgent individuals, rather a clash of traditions and customs dating back many generations, in a modern day battleground defined by the economic collapses, non-stop flights and instant connectivity. The figurative diversity of expectations hits home in the literal diversity of New York City. That the director has managed to convey a heavy message in a pointed, sometimes funny, and light-hearted manner is quite commendable.
There is some great acting by upcoming stars namely Samrat Chakrabarti (Shree) and Carrie Anne James (Genevive) playing an inter-racial couple trying to tie the knot. Deepti Gupta (Nidhi) and Ami Sheth (Anu) absolutely own every frame they are in. The portrayal of Indian parents involved in the wheeling-dealing behind the wedding arrangements is spot on. The direction is tack sharp, with very slick editing. It is hard to believe that this is the director's debut film. A brilliant soundtrack, created by the likes of Vishal-Shekhar (the music director of Dus, Dostana) and Ram Sampath (Peepli Live), rounds off an eminently enjoyable movie.