A Bollywood-style update of Jane Austen's classic tale, in which Mrs. Bakshi is eager to find suitable husbands for her four unmarried daughters. When the rich single gentlemen Balraj and Darcy come to visit, the Bakshis have high hopes, though circumstance and boorish opinions threaten to get in the way of romance.Written by
Fun movie, Full-Throttle Bhangra, Beautiful girls (both Western and Indian), but Goa without Pot?
Let me begin with the negative points, which may not be all that negative actually!
1) I don't know why Chadha decided to name a guy, "Kholi" and not "Kohli! As far as I know, "Kohli" is a Punjabi surname, and not "Kholi". "Kholi" is a word found in Bombayya Hindi. I would have liked to think that one of the Hollywood geniuses, who often convert, for example, "Gandhi" into "Ghendi/ Gendi/ Gandi" etc. (You don't believe me? Please check the subtitles of the movie, "Gandhi".) turned Kohli into Kholi, but that is not the case. Was it to mock at "Hollywood" with the rhyming "Kholiwood"? Or was it that Chadha meant that Kohli became very Westernized to call himself Kholi.
2) Pot smoking and Goa go as much hand in hand as expletives and the Punjabi language do. It's not a criticism; it's a fact!. This movie, however, did not show anyone smoking pot in Goa. (Maybe the director did it intentionally to avoid the censor; also, recently the Indian government banned depiction of smoking in movies, and Chadha surely had the Indian audience in mind).
3) The cows in Indian streets seems to be a very popular cliché (though not completely inaccurate depiction of the situation in some places in India), which each so-called non-Bollywood movie must decidedly include. Punjab is one of the well-developed states of India, mind you. Girl in Jeans and sport-shoes going to the field also seemed to me a bit out of place.
Even more obvious is the omission of the ritual horse-ride. Each Punjabi groom must have a horseback (or, rather a mare) ride for the wedding procession. This movie does not show that, which seems like an absolute mistake to me!
3) The Bad guy in the movie looked more innocent and adorable than the good guy in the movie. That just did not seem good to my eyes; but this is a subjective opinion.
5) Kohli eating with his fingers: he won't do it after living in America for so long. It's a matter of getting used to at least spoons, if not to knife and fork. Also, most Indian middle-class families (and other too) would, for sure, offer a spoon to a guest, especially one who had lived abroad for long, and with whom almost the entire family was so fascinated! It was apparent to everyone that Kohli did not have the slightest clue as to how to use his fingers for eating food! Actually, many Indian families these days use spoon rather than their fingers.
6) A green card holder like Mr. Kohli would perhaps not marry a non US citizen. (Note: if I can believe what my friends told me, she can not get a dependent Visa, or Green card or whatever. One of the guys I know says that he can not marry any Indian girl now, because he got his Green card about a year ago, and he has been unsuccessful so far to get a long-term girlfriend within the United States).
Now good points.
1) Music: Chadha has done a great job in making this music possible, by bringing in Anu Malik. Sure, Malik steals left and right, but he also can fuse very well. The music played for the Cobra dance, for example, is the celebrated Been (clay pipe) music, composed by the late Hemant Kumar (Mukhyopadhyay) for the movie, Nagin, in the early 1950's (was it 1952?), which was played by Ravi and Kalyanji, the would be music composers in the not-so-far future. Similarly, the song,"Wedding comes to town", is based on an old Hindi movie song; perhaps it was "Reshmi Rumal". Chadha even made Punjabis dancing Garba, which is a Maharashtrian dance, look convincing!
2) Acting: Chadha managed to gather a bunch of talents and a handful of former Miss India's (Namrata Shirodkar=Jaya, Aishwarya Rai=Lalita etc.) for this movie. Most of the actors did a good job. Nadira Babbar, for example, whom I knew only as the first wife of Raj Babbar, acted well. Sonali Kulkarni is also a very good actor(she was much praised for her role in Amol Palekar's Dayraa, for example), though she played here a non-important role. Anupam Kher is always reliable, and he seems to be a favorite of Chadha. Indira Verma acted pretty good too. (Even the music composer, Anu Malik, did a cameo as a priest. I'm not sure if I saw him in the movie, or in the Bonus Materials only, though!)
3) Some of the scenes were very accurate with respect to small details. For example, Kohli carrying two huge suitcases while walking out of the Bakshi household seemed very accurate to me. As the joke goes, the sure way to identify a Desi (Indian) abroad is to locate the idiot at the airport, who looks all confused and stands between two huge suitcases (Now for the conspiracy theorists: relax, I'm Indian too, though I fly light). I laughed watching his pulling two huge suitcases. The computer/internet café under a tree was hilarious too.
Now a silly question: Why do all the characters in the movie use only Hotmail for e-mailing? Does it have anything to do with the real-life fact that Shabir Bhatia, who invented Hotmail, wanted to marry Aishwarya Rai (and Rai's mother wanted that to happen), but Aishwarya opted for Salman Khan, only to break up with him later?
Overall, I enjoyed the movie; it's great fun to watch it.
For those who enjoyed the music and the beat: You may try to watch, "Dil to Pagal Hai" and "Mohhabatein", both of which are musicals directed by Yash Chopra (whom Chaddha refers to in her commentary), and in the later of which Aishwarya Rai plays a role too.
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