Cliche After Cliche But Not Bad
2 reluctant stars
You’ll love this film if you have never heard NRI tales, never had relatives who live abroad complain about ‘Indians’, never visited a foreign country, stayed with relatives who behave at once Indian and at once ‘foreign’. The story is as old as the hills, but Brett Lee (the cricketer!) really gives his all to the role and we believe him. More than all the established actors in the film.
‘What are doing with a white guy?’ The whole movie is based on this statement and even though it seems like a very archaic statement for NRIs to make in 2016, you realise that the idea for the script probably germinated when the filmmakers moved to Australia.
Indian girls don’t date ‘white’ boys, Indian mothers are obsessed with MBA or doctor son-in-laws, Indian food is too hot for ‘white’ people, foreigners who emigrate to Australia speak English like that TV show ‘Mind Your Language’, ‘white’ boy truly loves ‘brown’ girl… The tropes are so hackneyed, you have seen them in several films - not all of them together, though.
If the tropes is the way the movie is going, then the basic premise of the movie seems difficult to believe. The heroine is so beautiful, the hero falls in love with the heroine at first sight. Now tradition dictates that you’re expecting someone stunningly beautiful (and she doesn’t know it) type traditional heroine. Someone who looks more like Aishwarya Rai than Shabana Azmi. So casting Tannishtha Chatterjee in a role made for Aishwarya Rai seems to be wrong. She is more the arthouse type heroine, and you expect her in sarees instead of Western clothes. If the film is releasing in India, and the Aussie hero (Brett Lee) falls for her exotic Indian charms, then her clothes, her looks, her character just does not fit well with ‘love at first sight’ trope. Tannishtha comes across as a thinking man’s girl. Someone good at her job and yet attractive because she is also woman enough to be independent single mother.
She is also shown to be not exactly fond of traditions Indians follow (and says so to her parents at home), and yet she dances at a public Holi celebration, and even walks up to a stranger who is not exactly participating in the revelry and smears color on his face and jacket. This is the kind of thing a very young Padmini Kolhapure does in Prem Rog, or a very young Jaya Bhaduri in Sholay. Somehow seeing Tannishtha Chatterjee (face full of color) playfully color a stranger is just out of place. And then she’s not even drunk.
The movie chugs on from cliche to cliche about Indians abroad and though you do smile at the very sweet connect between Tannishtha’s daughter and Brett Lee and the antics of the motormouth mother (played by Supriya Pathak)... But the story does not hold your attention for too long. And groanworthy and facepalmworthy scenes like the Indian babaji speaking about chakras makes you want to head out to the local bar and get loaded on a few Darwin stubbies…
(this review appears in nowrunning dot com)