UnIndian: Cross-cultural romcom

Film: UnIndian

Cast: Brett Lee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Gulshan Grover, Supriya Pathak, Sarah Roberts, Akash Khurana, Arka Das, Mark Sheridan, Warren Ekermans, Stephen Hunter, Andy Trieu, Heather Maltman, Maha Wilson, Nicholas Brown

Director: Anupam Sharma 

What’s not to like about this film? You’d have to have a shrivelled soul to dislike it. Dislike the story, the characters or the way how the plot pans out. Nicely. Neatly. Despite the mess that we, some people that is, make. Eyes wide open. Or perhaps inadvertently. What’s not to like about Meera (Tannishtha Chatterjee of Angry Indian Goddesses fame), an attractive Indian expat living Down Under (in Sydney, Australia to be precise) with her parents (Supriya Pathak, Akash Khurana) and her daughter. Meera’s divorced and the reason why is unveiled in due course. When the story starts, we only see her as someone, smart, successful and independent. As a friend tells her, “I want to be like you.”

Me, I went, huh? Me, I wouldn’t want to be a divorcee and a single mom. But then, that’s stick-in-the-me. And then, as said here-above in the preceding para, the reason for the divorce is explained. And all is forgiven. All are forgiven. By me, heh heh.

Even Meera’s gay ex hubby, Gulshan Grover who was forced by Indian convention to marry and begat. Which he did dutifully until he, rather Meera, could no longer stand the sham marriage and wanted out.

Out becomes Down Under where Meera and family have carved out a most successful life: nice house, good job, warm friends and a lovely Aussie boyfriend who may not quite meet Ma’s (Supriya Pathak) exacting standards of a “nice Indian match (aka MBA/doctor/engineer) but makes up in Meera and our eyes with his dependable and most likeable nature. (First displayed in the monster hit, Babe, in which he worked off-screen as an animal handler).

As we said before, Will (Aussie fast bowler Brett Lee in a charming debut) doesn’t live up to Material Mom, since he’s only a teacher. He’s also very tall and blonde; while Meera’s short and coffee coloured. But they love each other. Despite envious Indian males with a penchant for tall tales about feminine conquests. Or Indian parents who  are scandalised when the two cohabit – this is where the title comes in. It’s unindian! There’s lots of kissing in the film, all very chaste I am happy to tell you. Even the bedroom scene between Will and Meera is tastefully done.

Sharma helms a cross-cultural romcom which echoes ABCD flicks that come loaded with desi baggage (Sharma also has a cameo as a sadhu). The film has a nice dig at Indians who try to disseminate desi cultural traditions about which they have scant knowledge. Does Meera succumb to familial pressure? Do they come around? As Ma consoles herself, “At least, the children will be fair.” So, let there be no impediments to a marriage of true minds as Bollywood does what it does best in a rousing song and dance finale.

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Free Press Journal