The Other End of the Line

 

The Taj Mahal?   Really?   There was nothing else that they could put on the poster to suggest India to Amrikan audiences?

Ok, so, Priya lives in Bombay (or Mooooom-buy as, Granger, her love interest, hottie from Desperate Housewives Jesse Metcalfe calls it), and maybe not all gringos will realize that Gateway or the Taj hotel are shorthand for the bustling metro, but they could learn, couldn’t they?

I know it’s a small detail, but it’s annoying, especially since the girl they present in this film is supposed to be a modern careerist who has learned her American Pop Culture well enough to be able to fake it on the phone of the credit card call centre where she works, and where she and Jesse cross paths, er, lines.   Actually, forget the Taj, Gateway or VT: show us Café Coffee Day on Carter Road.

But I digress.

Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment has brought us this romcom that has the pre-wedding jittery Shriya Saran meeting cute over the phone headset, at the exact time when she starts to chafe at the fiancé and affluent family she’s being pushed towards marrying.   On the spur of the moment, she decides to fly off to SFO to meet Granger before settling down and accepting her fate.

Of course, chaos and pratfalls ensue, complete with protoPapa Anupam Kher (in delightful comb-over wig and mush) in flailing pursuit across oceans and continents.   (And when was the last time anyone on those hilly streets of   Frisco had a leatherbound stranger approach them and offer “Group sex?” just like that only?)

Jesse Metcalfe is his own cute self, though he doesn’t have much to offer here, aside from looking like a young, very pretty Pete Sampras.   And that “You know more about me than my mother” line landed with a thud and just lay there dying on the floor.   C’mon, a few calls about one’s recent purchases and someone 10,000 miles away  knows you that well?

Shriya Saran’s American accent voiceover starts to grate soon on, and it seems to me it would be more the style of speech you’d hear from a woman doing another sort of transaction over the phone.

I will say this:    they did make Bombay look lovely and sunny and bright.   Sure, there was lots of traffic and vehicles, but none of the dust and cows and other favorite fallback close-up subjects that are usually sprinkled through filmi street shots of the city.

See it or skip it

It occurred to me the night that I saw this film I was in the same screening room where I had seen another East-West love story some three years before:   Bride and Prejudice.

This film is nowhere near as bad as that one was, though, it does lack such fun musical items as this one  with Naveen Andrews shaking a leg, or the wonderful Mr. Kholi song.    

I’d wait for the DVD, or pass on it altogether.   It doesn’t really add anything new to the Indo-American clash-of-cultures filmi catalog that’s out there.

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