Wednesday, November 07, 2007
"loins of punjab presents"
a movie born in a coffee shop.an uttterly watchable film.a second gen desi comedy.it is a funfilled comic caper.a comedy with a difference.a take-off on the reality singing shows.like indian idol or american idol this is 'desi idol'.but everything is completed over the weekend.in a five-star hotel.audition,selection,finals etc etc. writer and director manish acharya and his buddy and co-writer anubhav pal,were sitting in a 'starbucks' at manhattan when they chatted about the craze for bollywood kitsch.the outcome was the decision to produce "loins of punjab presents".
a new jersey singing competition called 'desi idol' sponsored by a new jersey pork loin company called loins of punjab(lop).the movie starts with the the owner of 'lop' mounting the stage to introduce the competition to the audience.the camera slowly zooms to the oil portrait of the company's founder,in a british colonial outfit.a porker standing at his feet.the owner lights a lamp,says a few words,and pushes off.(he made his money selling pork chops) .
mr borade(jameel khan) is the sleazy event manager.there are lot of quirky contestants and aspirants for the prize money. $25,000. winner takes all.it was very funny watching the entire patel clan coming in full force to cheer their 'preeti'(ishita sharma).with their relationship with preeti written on the back of their t-shirts.and indeed talking for her.led by preeti's dad. darshan jariwalla.he got the maximum claps from the audience for exemplifying a typical gujju.in dress,manners and speech.ajay naidu,the crazy bhangra dancer(he could have been sparing in the use of the four letter word),videshi josh cohen(michael lamondi) as opama menon's( ayesha dharker) lover who puts in an excellent performance.he knows hindustani classical music,loves india and knows two hindi songs."yeh hai bombai meri jaan" and our national anthem "jana gana mana". and rrita kapoor(shabana azmi) the scheming singer who makes it to the finals.she has a guru who teaches her to sing 'chura liya hai tumne'.she is a strong believer in astrology and numerology and has a mahaattitude and wants to win at all costs to utilise the money for charity and therby earn publicity.one of the participants had to be dropped becuase his name was saddam hussain. an elderly gentleman living in the hotel who suspects everyone of being a terrorist.post 9/11 phobia. anyone who wears a turban and has a funny accent falls in this category.vikram tejwani(manish acharya),a bacchan fan, who talks mostly in numbers, his job has been outsourced to india. a pretty american born desi,sania rehman(seema rehman) who doesn't speak hindi.
an eclectic mix of people,little digs on racism,sharp and witty dialogue,impeccable performances from most of the actors,very good screenplay,superb cinematography by arabind kannabiran and good direction by manish acharya.the film produced,directed and cowritten by him and arnab pal with music by michael cohen and editing by shirish kunder(farah khan's young husband).
the climax is the best part of the 90 minutes film.when the winner josh cohen sings 'jana gana mana' and gets a standing ovation and beats shaban azmi who looked like a winner(thanks to her manipulative skills) all the way.the movie takes a close look at the people who participate in such a show and the behind the scene manipulation and politics.shabana azmi trying to eliminate her strong opponents by coaxing,cajoling and even giving veiled threats.the miserly patels trying to bribe the judges.and the desi contestants protesting against the participation of a videsi contestant(josh cohen).and shabana complaining about sania rehman not knowing hindi and getting her disqualified and breaking her heart and her father's too!
this wacky film has won the best feature film honour in the 2007 first run film festival in new york.a mad comedy,there is no dull moment.go and enjoy it.the gay rappers and the patel clan in particular.paisa vasool.