Welcome to a new feature at Man, I Love Films! Here’s a little history… I ran the idea of possibly being a foreign films reviewer on the site a while back, and both Dylan and Kai were cool with the idea. Time went by and I was looking ahead at the upcoming DVDs that I’d have to review for my normal segment and noticed there was going to be a string of months where very little of worth came out. I posed the question of what I should do, and I was met back with “why don’t you do your foreign reviews idea?” So that’s what I’m doing. Basically, the current plan is that every other Saturday I will do a foreign film review instead of a New-to-DVD Review. But then came the problem of… where to start? I figured why not start with a country whose films I haven’t really seen much of, if any? And that led me to India.
This is my first Indian film, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect outside of maybe a random Bollywood number since it’s a lighter film. Well… I got that… and more. The story is kind of like mixing You’ve Got Mail with a Shakespearean comedy… in other words, it gets complicated. Bear with me on this. We’re first introduced to Vishal (Saqib Saleem), who turns out to be friends with a popular local rockstar named Rahul (Nishant Dahlya), who he actually secretly writes his songs for. At a concert, Rahul pulls the beautiful Malvika (Tara D’Souza) up on stage. After the show, Rahul discusses not liking to friend random girls on Facebook… so when he wanders off, Vishal decides to send a friend request to Malvika under Rahul’s account. Later, Malvika is home with her cousin, Preity (Saba Azaad), and sees Rahul’s request… but leaves the room before accepting, not liking to accept random guys requests on Facebook. So Preity takes it into her own hands and friends him for her. But then they start talking to each other–Vishal as Rahul and Preity as Malkiva, each thinking the other is who they are pretending to be and begin falling for each other.
Meanwhile, their local college is having its 25-year anniversary celebration, and the head of the committee honoring it uses the ideas of both Vishal and Preity to do so–an electric photobook celebrating 25 couples who met at the college and stayed together in the last 25 years. But here’s the problem: Vishal and Preity loathe each other in real life. Forced to work together, the two are at each other’s throats in the real world while falling for each other online… and that’s when they decide to meet and actually get the real Rahul and Malvika caught up in everything, as well.
Yeah, I told you it was complicated. But it really works. The characters are fun, and the story keeps you smiling, despite knowing exactly how it’s going to end up. And I’m not sure if they were going for a whole Twelfth Night-type feel, but that’s what I was continually reminded of. Mixed identities, love quadrangles, etc. Even some of the names are similar, if you take into account gender differences (Malvolio/Malvika, Viola/Vishal). There’s a boy/girl set of twins (though only side characters). And there were at least 2 references to Shakespeare in the film that I caught. But I could also be reaching for a connection that isn’t there. Either way, it was a fun concept that was executed well in a modern setting with modern technology.
And speaking of the technology, there were definitely some strong themes here through the use of Facebook. The overall message of the film is definitely pro- real life experiences vs. hiding behind a computer. There’s a great speech near the end of the film about that, which says things like (and I’m doing some extreme paraphrasing here) how people used to go after their crushes when they’d catch that smile from across the classroom, but these days people seem more content hiding behind a screen in order to get themselves out there. It’s a great jab at modern society, and I think it’s particularly interesting coming from an Indian film, as India has one of the largest technical support systems in the world.
As this was my first Indian film, I had a little culture shock that I had to get used to. First and foremost, the language. It jumps back and forth between Hindi and English, just like somebody speaking Spanglish might jump between English and Spanish. On top of that, it’s such a fast language. I consider myself used to subtitled films, but there were a handful of instances that those suckers were off the screen by the time I was only halfway done. Fortunately I got the gist of it and was able to keep up, so there were no real problems there. Besides the language, there’s… Bollywood. I’m not sure if most films have more than one musical number or if this could be considered a musical. If you count the opening concert number (which wasn’t really a Bollywood number as it was just an opening credits concert sequence), then there were at least 5 or so musical numbers throughout the movie that kinda tied in to what was going on at the time. It was strange, though, as they were more like music videos than straight-up musical numbers. The songs weren’t bad, either. They were mostly catch pop kinda songs (though there was one Bollywood rap in the third act, which honestly I think was the best one).
If you’re a fan of Hindi and/or Bollywood films, I’d say definitely check it out. If you like romantic comedies and don’t mind foreign films, definitely check it out. It’s a pretty smart RomCom, and it actually comes with a little social commentary, to boot. On top of all that, the visuals are nice. The film looks really good, and the ending segment is done completely in stop-motion photographs, similar to the outstanding film company logo animation at the start of the movie. It’s really fantastic. So it looks good (the film and the people), the story is fun, the music is fun… that’s the best way to really describe this movie. It’s just… fun.
(P.S. To make it even better, one of the characters shares my birthday… and there’s a joke that makes fun of Robert Pattinson.)