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Australia 2015
Directed by
Anupam Sharma
102 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
3 stars


Synopsis: Meera (Tannishtha Chaterjee) is a beautiful divorced single mother of Indian parentage, who works in a high managerial position. Will (Brett Lee) teaches a specialized Australian English course to migrants at the University of NSW. When Will claps eyes on Meera at the cultural festival of Holi, he is smitten. Meera also fancies Will but her parents have a firm belief that to fall in love with an Australian is not only scandalous but unIndian.

I must admit I had low expectations for this film, especially after having seen the similarly themed Alex and Eve (releasing next week, stay tuned!). However, I found myself charmed and amused by this surprisingly well-made version of a cross-cultural thwarted love tale.

The film’s charm comes from a number of sources. Firstly it generates a lot of good-natured humour playing with traditional Indian values although it stops just short of lampooning them. So we first meet Meera’s deeply conservative and traditional mother (Supriya Pathak) as she performs a puja or blessing in Meera’s new home. The cute concept of the ICN (Indian Community Network) is used to good effect, as gossip quickly spreads via the “aunties” and modern texting technology.

Whilst subtleties of the English language, Aussie-style, gave me a lot of laughs, the film also cleverly utilises intermingling of cultures, as the local Aussie community runs riot with the Indians in a festival known as Holi, in which everyone bombs each other with coloured powder. When Will goes to a Bollywood movie he imagines himself on the screen dancing with Meera, which of course allows the director to insert the requisite dance scene. Also, a firm cross-cultural mateship is set up from scene one, in which Will narrates how his family adopted TK (Arka Das), the most Aussie of Indian lads and together they hang out with good-natured Mich (an engaging performance from Adam Dunn).

The storyline is rich with subplots of varying impact and credibility. A couple of predictable ones turn up, such as Mother’s attempts to match-make Meera with the smarmy and arrogant doctor Samir (Nicholas Brown) and the attempts of a superior (an ill-cast John Howard) at the university to axe Will’s popular course, the latter doing nothing to dramatically further the plot. On the other hand, whilst the back-story to the biological father of Meera’s daughter Smitha (bright-as-a-button Maya Sathi), is not totally credible it leads to one of the story’s dramatic high points. A downer, however, is the overt product placement.

The core of the movie’s appeal for me is the good-natured approach it takes to its characters and narrative, along with the sweetness and relative believability of the relationship between Meera and Will. The ex-test cricketer Lee is a surprisingly natural screen presence, with Chatterjee’s Meera a sensuous and intelligent woman who owns every scene in which she appears. The gal friendship that develops between Meera and Will’s student, Priya (Sarah Roberts), is also a nice touch, and although there are contrivances, generally the whole thing works to create a warm and sweet story that can only do good for multi-cultural relations.

And don’t miss the end credits as each member of the crew gets to dress up and have a bit of a Bollywood dance.  




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