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Released:  2003


Starring:  A bunch of Indian actors you have never heard of such as Rhahul Khanna, Lisa “how hot is she” Ray, Moushumi Chatterjee and Dina Pathak.


Directed and written by:  Canadian director Deepa Mehta


The Down and Dirty


Don’t expect any cool explosions or monsters in this movie.  Do expect superb acting and extremely high production values.  Don’t expect to be swept off your feet but do expect to be entertained on an off again during this movie.


This movie is (probably) a satire on (East) Indian musical-romance movies.  Then again, I know little about Indian film and, therefore, whether it is satire is a little difficult to determine.  What I can say is that this movie is extremely Shakespearian in its plot and has some song and dance numbers (in Indian) that were interesting but did not move the story forward.


The story is: A very wealthy Indian fellow is dating (and in Love with) a pop idol who dies in an accident (sound funny so far?  Well, this all happens rather fast and just sets up the movie).  He, of course, is devastated but his widowed mother and grandmother tell him that he must marry a nice Indian girl before his sister is allowed to marry.  As our hero is the man of the house and as his sister is pregnant and wants to get married, this fellow hires an escort to play the part of his fiancé (which is what any of us would do, right?).  He believes that this woman is Latin but also believes that she will be able to pull off playing the part of an Indian woman. 


What follows is a romantic comedy of errors that does make for a good film. 


The production values and acting are top-notch and the musical numbers (an Indian thing) that are interspersed throughout the film are short and kind of funny.


On the other hand, this movie did have some pacing problems and felt a bit boring at times.  This may have been due to the extremely simple nature of the plot and its inherent predictability.  One might expect that my inherent, western education knowledge of Shakespeare-like plots might be offset by the Indian culture shown in this movie but, despite the fact that my knowledge of Indian Culture comes primarily from John Irving’s Son of the Circus and the movie Bend it Like Beckham, I did not find very much that surprised me.  It was interesting to learn a bit more about another culture (or at least watch a representation of it) but not interesting enough to hold my attention completely to this movie.


One thing I wish that I knew is whether Indian dance numbers are meant to be metaphorical or whether they are just meant to be fun.  Had I known at the time I might have gotten more out of the movie as I could have analysed what was going on during these dance numbers.  Unfortunately, the dancing itself did not appear very related to the plot and seemed more like short, musical interludes than it did metaphor.


Overall, this movie was worth watching if you are in for some cutesy crap.  I would not advise that you expect too much but there are worse things you could be doing with your time.

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