Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) Poster

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Hilarious Bollywood parody
hprill1 September 2003
One caveat: if you have never seen a Bollywood movie, you probably won't find this very funny. The point is, director Deepa Mehta has taken just about every Bollywood cliché, exaggerated it, swirled it around and mixed it with a Hollywood love story and created a perfectly funny Bollywood parody that had me in giggles from the weepy deathbed scene at the beginning through most of the movie.

Depth? Don't expect any. This is about as lightweight (and sometimes silly) as comedy can get, with the usual suspension of disbelief necessary for Bollywood movies.

The title doesn't really have anything to do with the plot; it's more of a programmatic statement, as Mehta tries to intertwine Bollywood and Hollywood elements into a musical romantic comedy.

The Bollywood bits are the more successful, as Mehta sems to have the necessary expertise to exploit them for parody and quirky humour; sadly, the weakest point of the movie is when the Bollywood/Hollywood formula shifts too much towards the Hollywood side and tries to incorporate too much of the typical Hollywood 'romantic comedy' storyline. All of a sudden the script seems to take itself too seriously, and the whole thing, which had been very fresh and entertaining up until then, suddenly tastes very stale, and we get the umpteenth reprise of "love in danger through misunderstanding", and whereas the Bollywood melodrama had been masterly turned into brilliant parody, the Hollywood drama just stands as it is and is presented at face value, which is a major disappointment.

However, the 75 minutes of hilarious Bollywood parody will more than compensate for those 15 minutes of Hollywood lameness. So will the excellent Bollywood-inspired (and Hollywood-compatible) music. Just don't expect depth.
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a few things people need to know...
eman_kazmi26 January 2004
For all those who felt the film was not the most fabulous or felt it wasn't a representative of the Bollywood industry etc., then you need to know this:

1) This movie was sold as a spoof of the Indian film industry like 'Not another teen movie' was a parody of 'Chick Flicks' and as the 'Scary Movie' series are for horror films; this film was meant to be exaggerated and outrageous.

2) Also to understand the humour of this film, you need to a know a lot about the Indian film industry and the references to the 'gossip' and films; even the music that is played as a score are insinuations to various Indian films. The transvestite driver, 'Killer Khalsa' sequence are a citation to a lot of stereotypes; Indian movies have transvestites as they are a part of society and as for the 'Killer Khalsa' sequence, the allusion to the food and the absurdity of the matchmaking are ever present in Indian films.

3) The segments of the film where it is obvious that Deepa Mehta's first language is not English are the segments where there are references to Indian sayings or style of speaking and that is true of many N.R.I's.

I am astonished at the people who disliked it; the audience should be aware of the context of this movie because admittedly there are people who appreciate Indian style films (in which case that audience should not have watched this film). Deepa Mehta is renowned for her art films ('Fire' (1996), 'Earth' (1998) and the upcoming 'Water') and this movie was created for a satirical view of the current films, especially the N.R.I. films.

What is commonly seen as a flaw of this movies is actually a part of the sardonic look at Indian films; of course if there are are filming discontinuities, I have not noticed. I give this film a 9 out of 10 due to the technical flaws (for example, 'Kim's' accident and the 'ghost' sequence) and also because of Lisa Ray's stylists' lack of fashion IQ as she was made to look pretty horrid through out this movie.
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Charming and funny
SilentDeb8 December 2003
I enjoyed this film immensely, and found it a humorous take on second-generation Indo-Canadian life. The songs were enjoyable (my only complaint about the film is that the songs weren't subtitled - a bit frustrating for those of us that don't speak Hindi!), and I recommend the film highly - great fun!
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9/10
Witty, whimsical, wacky - wow.
Shirin-311 October 2004
I am a fan of satire, and this movie has not been appreciated for what it is - a spoof, not only of the high flying Bollywood musicals with weeping widows and on-cue dance routines in full costume but it is also a subtle rendition of Shakespeare's own comedy plays of mistaken identities and the "play within the play" feature which was witfully alluded to by the comic relief Indian Grand-ma in sneakers who bemoans "All the world's a stage" often enough to wrangle out a grin. I found it delightful and light which doesn't disappoint in wrenching out a smug smile and leaving one feeling good. Much needed therapy for all sub-continents nowadays. Don't expect Bollywood - or even Hollywood - when settling back to take in the action as it flies at you full throttle - but a magical space in between in suspended disbelief.
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8/10
Lively and colorful
LeRoyMarko19 November 2002
This homage to Bollywood movies is actually a melodramatic farce with vibrant colors and a just dose of romance. The movie does have some charm and is funny in more than one way. But more musical numbers would have been nice. Good to get a taste of what life is for the Toronto's East Indian community. Nice way to address the culture clash of Toronto's multi-cultural facade. The acting is good by Rahul Khanna and gorgeous Lisa Ray.

Out of 100, I give it 80. That's good for *** out of ****.

Seen in Toronto, at the Alliance Atlantis Cumberland Cinemas, on November 3rd, 2002.
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7/10
Parody? Yes. But With a Kicker
rlelias18 January 2005
B/H stands up as a comedy AND an affectionate parody of Bollywood formula romances. The very title underscores the love-hate relationship many contemporary South Asian filmmakers feel about the Hollywood hegemon (see http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue9/bollywood.html ). As such, it offers a sly reworking of the Pretty Woman formula, with an Indian twist – which raises the question of why Mehta's writers chose THAT Hollywood movie to build a comic plot upon. One answer requires examination of how women, especially young women, are depicted in Bollywood movies, which valorize – even enforce – Ramayana-like ideals of female purity versus the reality and problems of female identity in a modern world. Compare Mehta's Fire. The comedy and parody in B/H offers a different take on a Mehta theme. The Shakespeare-quoting grandmother reflects another aspect of the film's comic concern with the clash between tradition and modernity – here, the kind of British-inspired education the grandmother would have received, which often required students to memorize whole scenes from Shakespeare (whose plays were and are very popular in India). The comic turnabout at the end might be examined in light of equally sudden turnabouts in movies like DDLJ, the difference being that the main blocking character at the end of B/H is Sunita herself. Her father, minutes before, reverses himself BECAUSE he has seen movies like that one. A very "filmi" intrusion into the comic plot, but (true to Mehta's sympathies) it is Sunita herself who becomes – for a moment – the blocking character whose needs must be recognized. It's a matter of HER identity, albeit within the framework of Bollywood comic romance. As such, her situation offers, for the perceptive, a bittersweet comic take on a question Mehta raises more seriously elsewhere. B/H is a parody, yes, but it has a serious side as well. Think about this while you laugh.
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10/10
A Good Laugh!
SashaHalima28 June 2004
If you like Lisa Ray and Rahul Khanna, this film is totally for you. I first saw Rahul Khann doing VJ work for AVS and I saw him in "Earth" with Aamir Khan and was totally blown away by his performance. When I first heard about B/H I thought it was going to be completely stupid and senseless, but, even though it can be called a spoof of Indian cinema, it is any but the aboved mentioned. It was a nice light laugh, especially with the Shakespeare-rattling grandmother called the first girlfriend a "white whore" and always referring to the "levitating accident". I couldn't stop laughing. Some of the characters were extremely stereotypical, but that's okay, because it only adds to the films appeal and a light hearted refreshing approach to an east-west fusion film. This is definitely much better than "American Chai" and merits up there with the likes of "Bend it Like Beckham". For another great Lisa Ray film, definitely check out "Kasoor", she'll blow you away. After seeing a film like "Raaz", it really makes you think that Bipsha Basu's performance was somehow based or gathered closely from Lisa's in "Kasoor". A definite step into dramatic/crime Indian cinema. Bollywood/Hollywood is a great film, and you should check out the films from the director too, "Earth", "Water" and "Fire."
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6/10
mild, occasionally entertaining
cherold16 April 2005
I see some of the reviewers here describe this as a parody of or satire on Bollywood musicals. Having seen nothing of Bollywood except a few music clips, I can't talk about that. I have to take this movie at face value, and on its face this is a moderately diverting musical with a few good moments amidst too many rather drab ones.

The story is somewhat interesting, the character of Sue, who fulfills the role of shaker-upper-of-things is quite appealing, and some of the musical numbers are pleasant (surprisingly, no one sang in that helium-junkie pitched style the girls all seem to have whenever I see clips from Bollywood musicals, although I don't know if this is because they were trying to make the movie more appealing to the west by having a more western-style voice singing these Indian songs or whether that high-pitched voice isn't as common as it seems to be). But the movie feels underdeveloped (even though I found it a little dull, I still felt it needed to be longer to flesh itself out) and most of the characters are overly generic (except for the grandmother and Sue's father). Ultimately watchable but nothing more, unless you're a fan of Bollywood films in which case this may work on a whole different level I don't see.
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3/10
What was she thinking??
idolessence2 November 2005
I am a devoted fan to Deepa Mehta's Earth, Water, and Fire trilogy which I have found deeply moving. However, this film I could barely sit through. I have seen a few (quite a few) Bollywood films and it would be difficult to create a send-up of a genre that is already a send-up itself. Bollywood films are already exaggerated, colorful, and dramatic and brimming with stereotypes. Deepa's film, I'm sad to say, was a terrible disappointment. It lacked any kind of originality, insight, or even good dance/song numbers (the best part of the film I thought was the rooftop number)which is the essence of Bollywood films. Given the power and intensity of her other films, this was an embarrassment. What was she thinking???
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1/10
embarrassing, disappointing, and painful to watch
jimmyq026 December 2002
Wow!!! I could not believe this was a Deepa Mehta film. As a young Indian growing up in the U.S. and living the very culture clash this movie was supposed to be about, I was looking forward to this movie. Instead, I found a movie filled with unoriginal and unfunny jokes and some of the worst acting I have ever seen. The movie was excruciating to watch from the very beginning and I found myself embarrassed for the actors and Mehta. Please do not waste your time or money to watch this movie - even if you are a Deepa Mehta fan. If you would like to see a recent English Indian film of quality, go rent Monsoon Wedding.
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1/10
Bad movie from a supposedly acclaimed director
Aam_Aadmi13 December 2005
Is Deepa Mehta a US-born or settled Indian? Is she US citizen or Green card holder? Does she have the faintest inkling about the lives of US-based Indians, let alone their kids? How on 'Earth' is she qualified to address this topic? She ought to be 'Fire'd from her job for this lousy portrayal of Indian Americans. There is NO merit to this story and the characterization. The plot (?) doesn't hold 'Water', the actors better attend class before their next flop (might redeem their sorry souls).

There! Its so easy to make up a cliché of a review to show how easy it is to dish out crap.

Just because it is supposed to be a spoof, does not mean the technical aspects, production and all else should be flushed down the toilet. Dipa Mehta thinks people will enjoy her movie, no matter what, just because of her name. Wrong! C'mon, a person like her shouldn't take for granted the sensibilities of her audiences and display utter contempt. The NRI crowd is at least proud of, and loyal to, its culture despite all the cheap potshots taken at NRIs by just about every 2-bit roadside director. What about Mehta??

This is a third-class film even by Bollywood standards. Avoid it.
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1/10
Go watch a real Bollywood film.
coffeyaddict25 October 2003
This movie was so pointless and boring. It has nothing of the lust for life that makes real Bollywood cinema so inviting. The film is full of cliches and the story is downright dull. The script and cinematography are nothing special. Don't bother with it.
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1/10
If you are looking for a movie lacking depth, creativity or originality, this is the one.
sharat-12 December 2002
I was intrigued by the storyline potential and catchy phrases/ songs from the trailors. There was a lot of exposure given to this movie, both in Indian media as well as local media. When the movie came to an end, I couldn't believe that this was a Deepa Mehta's movie. All the best scenes are covered by the trailers. Believe me, it was horrible! The movie was characterized by lack of depth, overuse of cliches, and creativity - without any originilality! That was two hours of my life I could have spent digging a ditch to India. I wouldn't see this movie again even if somebody paid me. If this was a quick way to exploit current interest in Indian cinema and Bollywood to make a fast buck, the makers of this movie succeeded.
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6/10
Strained and long, but thanks for trying
sudheerapte21 February 2003
Nice attempt at a combination of Bollywood *and* Hollywood spoof, plus gentle fun being poked at the Indian-Canadian community. But too amateurish a production, and TOO LONG! After introducing the characters, the story drags and drags till you lose interest.

The silent subtitles are sometimes funny ("Non-veg scene. What to do?") but mostly just annoying and trying too hard. Similarly, uneven quality and terrible delivery by the young characters makes the dialogue embarrassing.

The biggest problem is the movie's own utterly predictable storyline. Just because it's spoofing Pretty Woman and numerous Bollywood movies doesn't mean its own story has to be such a cliche.

I gave it a 6 out of 10 for trying, but I think I was being too generous.
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1/10
Pretentious IMDB.COM Reviewers continue to amaze me
yojimbo99917 May 2003
I love the guys on IMDB.com. The reviewers, I mean. Give them any plain old film that is as formulaic as heck, predictable from beginning to end, and laughably written, acted, and directed -- but as long as it doesn't have an all-white cast and they'll go ga-ga over it. What a riot!

BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD is such a ridiculous movie that the director should be embarassed. The screenplay is so trite and utterly ridiculous. Granted, it's all in the name of "parodying Hollywood romantic comedies and Bollywood", but when your parody doesn't do anything BUT COPY what you're parodying, does it matter if you wink here and there to let us in that it's all a joke?

Point is, BW is a bad, bad movie. Give some white filmmakers the same concept (parody of romantic comedies) and throw in an all-white cast, and the pretentious IMDB.COM reviewers would be up in arms!

Silly, silly kids. IF it's a bad movie, it's a bad movie, even if the big bad meanie Hollywood people aren't beind it. Get a grip. Better yet, develop some objectivity.
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1/10
Disappointing
saeedonweb26 December 2002
This film is a total mess. The director has a confused mind. Just saw this movie and my suggestion to anyone out there who is thinking about seeing it is; Stay away from this. Deepa Mehta tries to comment on Indian culture but miss with a long shot.
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10/10
A wonderful Canadian film and great insight into Indian culture
MartinHafer28 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was a tad formulaic, but it's a nice formula and one that is sure to please. In many ways it's similar to DOUBLE HAPPINESS (1994), though instead of Chinese culture, this film centers on Indians living in Canada. Rahul brings home a Caucasian girl to his mother and grandmother, who immediately disapprove--they demand that he MUST marry an Indian woman. Well, this being a VERY strange movie, the girlfriend is soon killed in a freak transcendental meditation accident (I am not kidding). Mom and grandma continue to hound him to find a nice Indian girl but with no success. Then, out of desperation (as well as a need to be controlling hags), Rahul is told that his younger sister will not be allowed to marry the man she is engaged to until he brings home an Indian fiancée. In a bind and wanting to do the right thing, he meets and convinces a woman named Sue to pose as his fiancée to make everyone leave him alone. He offers her thousands of dollars and she agrees. The problem, though, is that although she LOOKS Indian, she doesn't sound very Indian. In fact, she speaks both English and Spanish--and tells him she's from Spanish Harlem. So how will he manage to fool everyone and get his sister married? Well, tune in and find out.

The movie features wonderful acting, weird and quirky touches (the dead ex-girlfriend and his deceased father come back for occasional visits and the chauffeur has a double life as a female impersonator), song and dance numbers almost exactly like those always found in Bollywood films and a sweet script--making this a must-see experience. Also, when the film concludes, do not turn off the film--keep watching for a nice song and dance number featuring about all the characters from the movie plus the crew. It's highly reminiscent of the end of the latest ZATOICHI film (by Takeshi Kitano).

By the way, the URL that flashes on the screen for Killer Khalsa in the middle of the movie is a working site. Photos of his friends, this movie, etc. are at http://www.killerkhalsa.com/
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3/10
A failed attempt altogether
anhedonia26 March 2005
About an hour into "Bollywood/Hollywood," Rahul (Rahul Khanna) tells Sue (Lisa Ray), "You're so unpredictable." Really? Because there's nothing she does in the film, and nothing in writer-director Deepa Mehta's script, that's even remotely unpredictable. Sue's about as unpredictable as the sunrise.

The premise: Forced to find a nice Indian bride before his sister gets married, westernized Rahul Seth meets Sue in a bar. And in a deal stolen right out of "Pretty Woman" (1990), she agrees to pose as his bride in order to satisfy his mother.

Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what will happen.

It's obvious Mehta set out to make a lighthearted parody of romantic comedies and meld the genre into the suddenly popular Bollywood movies. I enjoy good Bollywood films. But in trying to find the best of both worlds, Mehta falls horribly short.

The romantic-comedy aspect of the story doesn't work because the characters aren't all that interesting. The outcome's a foregone conclusion and both Khanna and Ray have such poorly defined characters that, although they look nice, there's nothing beneath the surface. Ray has screen presence to spare. But Mehta needed to give the poor girl a stronger role.

The film's Bollywood angle does worse. What's fun about good Bollywood movies is that their songs are peppy and the song-and-dance sequences are fun to watch. Here, there's just one song-and-dance number - Sue's routine - that comes close to emulating a Bollywood number. The rest are unimaginative and completely forgettable.

Mehta tries to gently poke fun of and respect Bollywood films and Indian culture. Unfortunately, she does a lousy job straddling that fine line. Subplots and characters, including a bit about men in drag and a grandmother who quotes Shakespeare, make no sense and one female character keeps popping up in various scenes repeating the same line of dialogue: "What a bunch of losers." Why? Mehta also tries to capture the Bollywood essence with some ridiculous supertitles, including one during a kiss that says, "Kiss to end all kisses. No debate." It's a horrid, desperate attempt at humor, trying to force laughs out of us because nothing in her story makes us chuckle.

Intermingling western and eastern genres could have made for a fun, exotic, unpredictable film. But Mehta doesn't seem to quite know what she's doing. I'm certain the initial idea sounded terrific and the film likely looked good on paper. But it suffers when translated on to the screen.

"Bollywood/Hollywood" is the kind of film that makes "The Guru" (2002) seem like a masterpiece.
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8/10
Must be watched as a parody.
Tom Murray31 January 2004
Bollywood/Hollywood is a parody of Bollywood musicals, which are a Bengali version of the old Hollywood musicals. Therefore, everything is intended to be either stereotypical, zany, melodramatic or trite etc. One must be prepared to accept the unlikely and even the outright contradictory, when watching parodies. The film's comedy aspect may at times seem obvious but is still clever and subtle in it own way. The director, Deepa Mehta, made this film in the wake of being thrown out of India because the Indian government felt that they could not guarantee the safety of her or her crew because of the rioting of Hindu fundamentalists inspired by her two great but controversial (in India), dramatic films, 'Fire' and 'Earth'. This zany film may have been a reaction to the reception, in India, of her heavy dramas.
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5/10
Laboured Comedy
whoz_thiz_guy9 January 2003
Humour is obviously not Deepa Mehta's forte as she ambles through a painful comedy that barely has any humour in it. The production values of the movie are low. The movie is intended to poke fun at traditional Indian value systems like arranged marriages and Bollywood masala movies and songs. But the dialogues and situations are so humourless it becomes a pain to sit through the movie. The dialogues also give away the fact that it was written by a non-native English speaker. The first 20 minutes are slightly funny with Dina Pathak quoting Shakespeare and Moushmi Chatterjee weeping. But this continues right throughout the movie. As for the positives, there is one good song in the movie. Lisa Ray is beautiful, well endowed and not coy about kissing. Thats just about all you get.
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5/10
clunky relative to Mehta's other work
smorani3 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Its a bit surprising frankly that this and Republic of Love are more recent works of hers than 'Fire' and 'Earth' which are far more sophisticated. Mehta obviously has a critical and satirical mind but her delivery in this film was weak at best. Sure, there were enjoyable bits -- the opening scene with the dying father relaying sports metaphor after sports metaphor - dying pearls of wisdom to his son like many a Bollywood film, -- Mehta favorite Ranjit Chowdhry doing his 2 cross-dressing acts... but in the end the overall effort was disappointing and this seemed more like the work of a first time filmmaker than someone as accomplished as she. Visually the film was blah which is a shame because if you're going to play up the bollywood tropes at least engage in the richness of the choreography and the costuming. There didn't seem like enough of a commitment to the absurdity of 'Indian melodrama in a foreign land' where old country values clash against a new world setting. This is really not a new subject. Similar films that I think are far more effective in their satire and comedy are 'Masala' (1991) directed by Srinivas Krishna (really an under-rated film IMO)and 'Anita & Me'(2002) directed by Metin Huseyin. Even Chadha's 'Bride & Prejudice' while fairly cheeseball has more laugh out loud and absurd moments than this one. This film could have tried to stay the course with an absurdist theme but getting mired in the my whole 'is she a prostitute?/do i trust her/do i love her' just seems to derail it into a hopeless cliché.

This was probably a fairly low budget film with a tight schedule. Its a shame that someone of Mehta's talents couldn't make it richer than it was. This and Republic of Love really come off as sappy love conquers all stories. I know that pretty much all her movies deal with the love story but at least there are multiple levels of profundity in her remarkable trilogy (Fire, Earth, Water).
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A disappointing Pastiche
chua21 March 2003
Ive just been to a screening of this film at which we were honored by the presence of the Director herself.

I admire Deepa Mehta's work but this was no more than a light candy-floss pastiche of Bollywood musicals which are enjoying an unexpected and somwhat undeserved level of interest amongst Western audiences.

The film aims to spoof the typical boy meets girl Bollywood musical. It does this but its simply not funny, original or engaging. The Asian immigrant experience has been viewed from many angles and this added nothing new.

Im also frankly tired of the stereotypical wailing melodramatic Asian mother figure now a staple of most films of this type (Bend it like Beckham for example). Ultimately I just couldn't see the point of this film which ultimately was no more than an unnecessary remake of "Pretty Woman"
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I really wanted to like this.
furrycanuck6 November 2002
October 6: The closing gala at the Calgary International Film Festival. about 700 people are lined up to see Deepa Mehta's _Bollywood/Hollywood_ and having seen the trailer at other CIFF features, we're all pumped. The crowd is a nice demographic mix if Indians and non-Indians, all portending a crossover hit (not to mention a hit, period) for Mehta, who is in attendance with two of the stars. Too much glamour for Calgary! But the thing is... the movie just wasn't that good. Predictable, too few musical numbers, without the drama and complexity of Monsoon Wedding (a movie to which B/H will unfortunately be compared). B/H felt old. It was telling that the closing sequence, when all the cast members came out onto a stage to dance during the closing credits, felt forced, unjoyous, as if Mehta has a tin ear for this sort of thing. I really wanted to like this movie, displaying as it does the resplendant and massive East Indian community in Toronto (and which is a community that absolutely sets Canadian cities apart from US ones- Toronto's East Indian community is, per capita, more than four times as large as that of New York's; even Calgary and Edmonton eclipse every major US city in this regard), but it needs a better filmmaker.
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Terrible, Pointless and Idiotic
jazool4 November 2002
yup that would just about sum it up for this ugly phenomenon that shouldnt even be called a motion picture. the characters, storyline, are pathetic and don't even hold your attention for a second. That idiotic display of the drag queen was just pure bad taste.. Who on earth allows these people to make "movies" ??

rating: -20/10
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10/10
Awesome cultural critique
persian-belle23 August 2019
I love this film. Could rewatch it 10,000 times!

First of all it's quite entertaining with colourful scenes, adorable music and contact humour (dark and light). It talks about the treatment of women, running away from home, prostitution, prejudices, homosexuality and the self-imposed cultural pressures in which many Indians inside and outside India often find themselves in.

I won't say more or I'd spoil the story. Just watch it!
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