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Comedy Movies - Bollywood Hollywood

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Bollywood Hollywood
Rahul Khanna, Lisa Ray, Rishma Malik
Written and directed by Deepa Mehta
Mongrel Media 2003
105 minutes

The trick to a great romantic comedy is to make the viewer believe that there is a chance the couple won't end up together. The knowledge that the viewer has before watching the movie that couple will get together in the end is suspended when a romantic comedy is done well.

Deepa Mehta's Bollywood Hollywood is a great romantic comedy that takes the western romantic comedy and melds it with the lush traditions of Bollywood romance. The end result is a work which combines humor, social mores, the clash of generations, cultures, transvestism and a wonderful soundtrack.

The story is a simple one. Rahul Seth (Rahul Khanna) is in love and plans to marry his white girlfriend Kimberly (Jessica Pare) breaking the hearts of his mother and grandmother. Kimberly unexpectedly dies in a bizarre levitation accident leaving Rahul alone and brooding while his mother and grandmother plot to marry him off to a nice Indian girl. The ghost of Rahul's father is never far away and actually giving advice to Rahul that only Rahul can hear. Complicating his life even more is his sister Twinky's pregnancy and betrothal to Bobby. Rahul's mother will cancel the wedding if Rahul does not have an Indian girlfriend by the time of the wedding.

To smooth things over and make his life more livable on the run up to his sisters wedding Rahul hires Sue (Lisa Ray) an escort he meets at a bar to play the role of his girlfriend until after the wedding. The numerous complications and misunderstandings which follow are predictable in the broad terms of a romantic comedy but the way in which they are delivered and handled in this movie are unique.

There are aspects of the movie which are better appreciated if you have seen some Bollywood movies but that is not a necessity. Some of the cultural references to film makers and films out of the mainstream will be lost but they do not really contribute to the overall effect of the movie. This is a solid, stylized romantic comedy which is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Denis Bernicky



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