There is that rare recipe towards an enriching entertainer of a film. A light but well-thought out script, visual brilliance, a stellar cast and identifying the genre or audience it must cater unto perfection.
This film does precisely that.
When Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are in a film, one expects raw emotion and drama. Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie and Dev Patel add comic timing to the drama and emotion, but it was Tom Wilkinson’s performance as Judge Graham Dashwood that touched me and I especially laud. A demure and resourceful ‘leader’ in the group of aging Britishers who seek an exotic adventure to escape from their near-miserable reality in England, the viewer gets the idea that his character has a purpose and a heavy secret to his visit. His story and his abrupt death in the film is so strong that his presence is felt right till the end, as Evelyn (Judi Dench) blogs about his thoughts, echoing hers as they cope with being reduced to ‘the grey pound.’
British humour of this kind has been missing in all the recent ‘blockbusters’ that have arrived from our former imperial masters! And to have it set against those very cliches and fears of an elderly Britisher travelling to India for the first time filled with stories of how India is ‘an assault on the senses’ turned out to be a laugh riot! I entered the cineplex prepared to ‘take offense’ at some of the India-centric jokes, but my mother and I could barely restrain ourselves to our seats, laughing so loud that much of the remaining conversation was drowned out.
Each of the ensemble cast has a peculiar trait that adds the spice to the story. Evelyn is endearing, Mrs. Ainslie is hysterical and Ms. Hardcastle is quirky yet resolute on finding a ‘single well-endowed man’. But their individuality blends in superbly into the group of aghast foreigners who slowly adapt to the dualities and complexities of India.
I know I ought to delve into what I enjoyed – especially the visual elements and humour, but I shall ask you to simply watch the movie at the ‘big’ screen instead. Its strengths outnumber the weaknesses in the plot so much so, that I was moved unto sharing my Review. First-time travelers to India must especially watch it to get a taste of what they might avail in their journey to the ‘exotic’ that is India!
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/