Like most Bollywood films, this is a Romeo & Juliet-style tale of forbidden love and adventure, but since it's set in London the filmmakers have some fun with West Side Story references as well, especially as the two grey-market families face off against each other. The songs blend the Hindi music with Motown, rock and even country & western--plus nods to musicals like Fame and Grease--in a clever multi-cultural style that propels the story and gives us insight into the characters. And this is a good thing because otherwise it's merely a cute and superficial movie. There are all kinds of conflicts here--culture, economics, education, sexuality--although the script never deals with them at all. But it's engaging because the cast is so good; Kalidas and McAvoy hold it together brilliantly, while a brief appearance by McShane as Jay's loser of a dad adds some comic grit. And the combination of offbeat Bollywood visual style with the coarse East London setting is intriguing. But this causes problems for director-cowriter Wooding, because it makes the film feel more than a little clunky, and too silly and sweet to be much more than frivolous fun.
dir Jeremy Wooding
scr Neil Spencer, Jeremy Wooding
with Preeya Kalidas, James McAvoy, Ciaran McMenamin, Ray Panthaki, Ian McShane, Amerjit Deu, Ronny Jhutti, Andy Beckwith, Matt Bardock, Badi Uzzaman, Lalita Ahmed, Saraj Chaudhry
release UK 17.Oct.03
Forbidden love: Kalidas and McAvoy.
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