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1 review, 7 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"The Idiot's Guide to the Bollywood Musical"
4 stars

I've never seen an actual Bollywood flick. Considering I'll watch just about anything (and often do) I find this a bit distressing. Fortunately Deepa Mehta's colorful and generally charming Bollywood/Hollywood seems a worthwhile introduction to those highly-adored Indian movies. Plus it's a lot like that Greek Wedding flick.

I didn't really know what to make of this flick going in, but I suppose that's why we watch 'em. Canadian-Indian Director Deepa Mehta has worked on both ends: she's done both traditional Bollywood and "North America" style filmmaking and Bollywood/Hollywood joins the two together quite capably.

The plot sees a likeable young millionaire who hires a Hispanic escort to pose as his Indian girlfriend. Rahul's family, despite living in Canada, has a strong devotion to their religion and culture. And in these modern days of waning cultural traditions, Rahul doesn't want to be bound by tradition.

Since he needs a nice Indian girl as a date for his sister's wedding, Rahul strikes a rather lucrative arrangement with a seemingly Hispanic young woman. (Were this movie a total stinker, and it's not, it would still be worth seeing for the ethereally wondrous presence of Lisa Ray as Sue.) Various mild and predictable rom-com complications ensue, each of Rahul's family members are affably goofy and laden with pithy wisdom, and only a few paper-thin roadblocks stand in front of the overwhelmingly happy ending.

Oh, and there are several musical numbers. They may be a bit off-putting to those unfamiliar with the Bollywood musicals. But I fit that classification to a T - and I found them quite charming...in a painfully innocent way.

There's not a whole lot here that hasn't been covered in dozens of other romantic comedies, but the pleasantly weird amalgam of Canadian-style earnestness and Indian-style sincerity somehow manages to grow on you. I suspect the singular beauty of Lisa Ray may have shaded my opinions a bit, but hey - they cast her for a reason!

Yet another example of why you should never bypass a flick just because it's not something you'd normally watch, Bollywood/Hollywood is a charming and affable film, and one that should stand as a great "gateway movie"; moviegoers who enjoy this one will hopefully search out other Bollywood titles. And if one little cross-cultural romantic comedy can do that, I'd call that an impressive accomplishment indeed.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7208&reviewer=128
originally posted: 04/28/03 10:54:17
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/01/06 sweetgrrl1972 Funny, charming, irreverent film. 4 stars
6/14/05 K. Sear I want to say I hated it but I can't. 4 stars
3/07/04 i am a slut it fucken roxed 5 stars
1/02/04 NISHA TI SUCKS! 1 stars
9/30/03 La Tita Very Very captivating movie , you have to see it ! 5 stars
6/20/03 Karen Andersen Funny movie and great footage of Toronto, a beautiful city (SARs isn't a threat) 4 stars
6/04/03 Emily Lots of fun, and a great spoof for those more familiar with the Bollywood tradition! 4 stars
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  03-Oct-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005



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