Kill, maim, destroy, equip, power-slam, rinse, repeat - but whatever you do,
leave that culturally repressive tag at home. Yeah, that tag of... ughh, I cant
even bring myself to barf it up... American Born Confused Desi - or, to use the
twice around beaten to death cliché, ABCD.
These cross-over flicks have aajkal
become more common than a buffalo with
milk. But while most of them try to be arty-sharty and fart out noxious intellectual
fumes (ohhh, shut up and sit down Monsoon
, you'll get your turn) nobody really tries to entertain. And this
is where I think that American Desi scores its first set in the match.
The title American Desi, yeah, is as imaginative as putting pickles on a tab of
Crocin, but this low-budget, low-brain intensity flick is every bit as much fun
as a jhoola
ride in the Mela.
So the gas is basically about this All-American guy called Kris whose main grouse
in life stems from the fact that he is as Indian as it gets - with a home reeking
of samosa fumes, and chai-ki-patti
boiling in small bartans
is as comfy with his origins as a Pirelli calendar girl in a monastery. Looking
forward to zip off to his college with his chaddi friend, a gora called Eric,
Kris hopes to find some respite in his college campus.
But Kris' gods and sub-gods apparently had something else charted out in his janam
, as he finds himself smack-bang back in Indian surroundings. All thanks
to his oddball assortment of roomies:
1. Salim (Rizwan Manji), whose primary aim in life is to map a raunchy route with
Rekha (yeah, Umrao Jaan to you too!)
2. Jagjit Singh (Ronobir Lahiri), an artistically inclined Sikh who'd rather make papier mache pandals than actually graduate as an engineer, and
3. Ajay (Kal Penn), black-badass-homie sorts, who is more African than Indian or even American or rather American Indian.
Just like socks don't go with paper-printers, Kris sticks out like a sore thumb with his roomies, refusing to have to do anything with them. But like we said earlier, the sub-gods had something else altogether in their minds, as Kris finds himself enlisting the help of his roomies to land the gal he loves - Nina (Purva Bedi), a desi who is as comfortable with her Indian origins as a baby in a Pram, pissing Kris off like nobody business. Salim on the other hand finds himself hounded by Farah - an outspoken Muslim in tanktops and an attitude to boot.
The flick then takes off as love fills air and music flows through the Navratri. Nina coaches Kris as he comes to grips with his own culture, and Salim finally exorcizes thoughts out of his head that Western-looking doesn't exactly mean Western-thinking. Or whatever, just watch the flick.
The film incidentally is as non-pretentious as it gets. The storyline is a bit trite with a song-dance-garba routine and some good ol'-fashioned dishum dishum thrown in for good effect. Heck, I ain't complaining. The performances are quite good, though the accents are terribly tacky and out of place.
One commendable part of the script is the clearly etched characters - each of them has its own space to work in, and they make a lasting impression. I wish I could say the same about the camerawork and editing - too grade school to be called professional, and too professional to be called amateur. If it's any consolation, the gags were fairly funny - though as old as the hills in The Sound Of Music.
At the end of the day, the film is fairly cute and is a great way to swat off
afternoon blues. But if you're looking for something intellectual that will expound
ceaselessly on the values of our great culture, then look the other way, 'coz
AD is intellectually outclassed by a dead sheep. But if you're looking for clean
desi humor, then head this way Sahibs.