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When Scottish boy Jay saves Indian girl Geena's life, sparks fly. At first they keep their relationship a secret, but soon the cross cultural romance comes under the eyes of their disapproving families. Modern London, colorful Bollywood, and '60s R&B flavors blend in this tale of forbidden love.Written by
So there I am in Blockbuster, trying to decide which movie I want to see when I head on over to the foreign film section. Being burnt out on the teenage-market oriented films over the last fifteen years I'm hoping that the other six continents on the globe can offer good old fashioned mature film making (yes, I'll even include Antarctica ... maybe there's some U.S. Army research type trying to make the next "March of the Penguins" with a camcorder).
I perused the section, grabbed one title that won Cannes, another that Ebert raved about, then scrunch my lips as I examine the respectable (though somewhat limited) selection of foreign films. I see a plain white Blockbuster DVD case with "Bollywood Queen" written in plain black letters. I grab it, read that small dozen-word "paragraph" describing a small indy film, then shrug and head to the cash register.
When I get home I popped the thing in my player, began to watch it anticipating on popping in one of the other DVDs into the machine, but instead was captivated by a magical film making style.
"Bollywood Queen", as the title suggests, leans towards the Indian musical genre, but it isn't strictly a musical in the Bollywood sense. It is an existential homage and tribute to the genre, and an attempt to introduce it and rework it for a larger movie going audience who can appreciate good film making.
The classic Romeo and Juliet story is played out in this modern Londoner update. The two families in question are from different sides of the tracks and different cultural backgrounds. The young-hearts must overcome obstacles including, but not limited to, traditional family politics, racial prejudices, and criminality from both families to set themselves free. There's been some complaint by viewers of racial stereotyping. This is entirely incorrect, as the baser elements of society are not limited to any racial segment, but cut across both prevalent groups in the film.
Interspersed within this drama are of course the musical numbers. They're there more for paying tribute and to enhance the overall surrealism that is the film's predominant theme. They're not huge lavish numbers one might expect from a golden age Hollywood production, but nor are they ridiculously kampy fare so prevalent in Bollywood offerings. They're brief, heartfelt, and to the point, but also a pleasure to listen to.
The acting is very respectable and solid, though no Oscars will be won here, as was the intent. Humor, romance, intrigue and drama are mixed and balanced, but not overplayed. Director Jeremy Wooding and his cast definitely knew what they were doing as they create a warm world in which viewing couples can get pleasantly lost in for 90 minutes.
Definitely a good couples film, or a film for anyone who likes good independent features.
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