23-year-old Nikhil comes to Canada from India to find his fortune and is convinced by his uncle to work as a companion and care-giver to Sam, an elderly Jewish man. An unlikely friendship ensues, which gives both men new insight into life.
It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl witnesses tragedy as her ayah (nanny) is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political and religious violence.
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Having read the novel a few years ago, went and watched it at the London Film Festival. As much as I wanted to love it, it didn't blow me away. The pluses: The acting was good with a good enough cast. Satya Bhabha, Rajat Kapoor, Shahana Goswami and some others (Seema Biswas, for example) were terrific. Shriya, Siddharth, Soha Ali Khan, the usual crowd that you see in many recent Hindi/Tamil films, did their best and I couldn't really find too much fault with them, though I've seen them play the same characters in other films. The story itself is quite powerful The locales were well chosen and you could sometimes feel the vibe of Partition. The minuses: The music (background score) was staid. The screenplay and adaptation to the medium seemed to be the crux of the problems, though. Deepa Mehta (and Rushdie himself) seemed to stick to the book too closely, and weren't very adventurous. At many times it was pure narration, which seems a bit lazy as an adaptation. The film was also 2.5 hours long meaning they left out nothing at the cost of making it a bit boring. Everything was so literal that they lost out on the magic of the writing. Still a normally good film it will typically be marked controversial even though it really isn't. I was just hoping for some distinctiveness and style.
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