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Bollywood/Hollywood | Review

A ‘Pretty Woman’ in a ‘Greek wedding’

Mehta’s comedy is a thoughtful look at diversity and acceptance.

Canadian filmmakers are taping into a new kind of niche market, – call it the ethnic family parody-this new type of film comedy offers much of the same, -character’s whose conflicts are based on a clash of values between the ‘old’ generation with their strong cultural beliefs in tradition versus the new and young way of thinking and living a lifestyle which includes less tradition and more mixing of values that are represented by culturally-diverse metropolitan centers. Prime examples of this new family comedy-which is partially inspired by the Hollywood pictures that poked fun at the ways of Italians, Jews and the Irish, are now expanding into other ethnicities as featured in the indie film hits such as the deeply rooted Canadian picture My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Monsoon Wedding.

Filmmaker Deepa Mehta is certainly no stranger to portraying the subjects and themes that involve family and a clash of morals and values, her first film Fire (part of her Water & Earth trilogy of films) was met with a protest from her native India, this film is perhaps a temporary break from her heavier films, but all the same she still includes that dynamic of “wanting to stir up the issues”. The Bollywood part of the film focuses on the particularities of this type of movie-making from India with the structure of the plot aligned with the romance theme and spiritual influences combined with breaking a film narrative with song and dance numbers. The Hollywood in Bollywood/Hollywood part focuses on a lifestyle of material wealth and a less traditional industry.

Bollywood/Hollywood pokes fun at these cultural and generation gap with a families’ only son- Rahul. He makes a good life for himself-and has adopted a less than traditional mentality, but the family pressure especially from the matriarch of the family is not very far behind. After a failed attempt to bring in a Britney Spears into the clan he goes back to the drawing board. He meets up with an accomplice and talks carry on into an agreement-what ensues is a falling in love for a woman which is both a “pretty woman” in the physical sense as well as the filmic sense-as in the Julia Roberts’ film. You get the sense that Mehta certainly had fun making this picture-being playful with the conventions of filmmaking as it appears in her playful use of the images, sound, camera angles and even some fantasy with the picture frame of a deceased father who occasionally speaks to his son. The same fun can be seen with her Bollywood dance numbers- with funny introductory intertitles for those who might not understand the Hindi language. The characters are fun to watch but instead of trying to wrap up the too film quickly; the film grows long focusing on the see-saw romance elements and forgetting about the more interesting supporting cast of players. Like Greek Wedding, this film is all about accessibility for more than one audience and unlike Greek Wedding it provides a little bit more complexity regarding the issues. Bollywood/Hollywood is a nice break for the filmmaker and perchance a nice treat for film-goers offering a glimpse into a new culture which is in hindsight- self-reflective of the viewers that watch the film.

Rating 1.5 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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