Indian matchmaking habits make for great cinema

2010-11-15 00:00

Review: A Beautiful Afterlife

THE guys who brought us Bend It Llike Beckham have done it again, but their latest offering A Beautiful Afterlife has left me in two minds about whether non-Indian audiences will get the point.

The comedy tells the story of an Indian mother in the UK who is so desperate to see her daughter get hitched that she turns to murder several times. How freaking hilarious!

Then again, I’m half-Indian so I understood why it was so funny, but I couldn’t help but wonder if people from other cultural backgrounds would get it too.

I am writing this review with a greater audience in mind, and I would hate to send someone off to a film they won’t understand. See, ever since I turned 18, my family have tried to marry me off to practically anyone they happen to bump into and wherever they happen to go. After every wedding, birthday party or whatever, it’s not uncommon for my mother or gran to tell me about how beautiful so-and-so’s daughter is, what so-and-so’s daughter does and if so-and-so’s daughter is available. Indian parents are like that. It’s just the way things are. So this movie makes perfect sense to me.

But then I thought about Bend It Like Beckham and realised that some situations are just universal — full stop.

In that film, the Indian and the white girl alike were given equal amounts of grief by their families and peers about playing “a man’s sport”.

Accordingly, I feel that this need for parents to marry off their children as soon as they hit adulthood can’t possibly be specific to the Indian community.

Granted, other races may not be as colourful and dramatic (and just plain gaudy) as Indian people. But if you’re human, you know exactly what I’m talking about — and you’ve probably experienced it too. Am I right?

I guess it’s our colourful lifestyles (as Indian people) that make these generally ordinary situations a little over-the-top. Not that that’s a bad thing, it certainly makes life a lot more fun … and makes for great cinema too, clearly.


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