With the digital revolution today, any idiot with a desktop computer and a camcorder can make a movie. This is what Ravi Godse, the character, writer, and director of the independent comedy movie DVD Dr. Ravi & Mr. Hyde is told early on in the movie by one of his friends. The friend is right; Ravi is an idiot -his wife will vouch for it-- but he is not just any idiot, he is a very special, determined idiot. Dr. Ravi And Mr. Hyde may not have the production values and acting skills of a Hollywood blockbuster comedy nor the smaller budget and lesser acting skills of most independent movies but it is better than many, many other independent films I have seen.
Dr. Ravi & Mr.Hyde is a comedy about a guy who wants to make a movie based on his unsuccessful novel and ends up making a movie about making a movie. Dr. Ravi Godse character, director, writer, and star, is having a midlife crisis and decides to take on something new: film making. It is what Godse does with the premise, himself as a character, and the real life characters around him that make this independent comedy work.
There is something so utterly charming and totally neat about Dr. Ravi & Mr. Hyde that you quickly overlook its flaws. The actors in this movie are amateurs, the sound takes sometimes obvious overdubs, and the movie is definitely quirky. It works because Dr. Ravi Godse is an interesting, endearing kind of guy and, contrary to many other independent comedies I have seen, he knows how to film and put a movie together.
He can most certainly write one too. There are so many great lines in this comedy I lost track but here are a couple of early ones: "You look happy. Are you selling Amway or something?" "How can I go to film school? I do not have any tattoos." "‘That's it? Interview done?' ‘No, I still have to show you the door.'" "My wife's paranoia is only matched by her imagination."
I also enjoyed the running gag where the publisher of Ravi's yet to sell a copy first novel keeps printing more copies of it. What also made this comedy work for me is it avoids all the pitfalls independent movie makers usually fall into. There are no fancy for no reason camera angles, there are no jokes or references only the director's best friend understands, none of the actors is under the impression they are giving an Oscar winning and consequently over-acted performance, and it does not believe in the art for art's sake approach nor does it try to apply all the cute tricks you learn in film school.
Yes, Dr. Ravi and Mr. Hyde is episodic, yes Godse bleeped or overdubbed a couple of swears for some reason, and yes there are a couple of scenes like the dance show and the South Africa scenes that have no point, but overall this is a fun little documentary styled comedy.
Dr. Ravi & Mr. Hyde proves any idiot with a camcorder and a desktop computer can make a DVD. Why it is then that so few independent comedies are as enjoyable, fresh, funny, sincere, and interesting as this?
A special mention to Panfilo DiCenzo, the strongest actor in this cast.