Bollywood Hollywood (2002)

“It’s not a love nest, mother, it’s an apartment.”

As the name Bollywood Hollywood implies, this Canadian film is a blending of Indian film with Hollywood conventions. The result is a lighthearted, frothy parody of Indian cinema laced with over-the-top cliches from both cultures.

Wealthy Rahul (Rahul Khanna) is devastated when his Anglo fiancee, singer and actress Kimberley (Jessica Pare) is killed in a freak levitation exercise above the Hollywood Hills. Rahul’s mother and Shakespeare-quoting grandmother, however, are delighted that now he’s free to marry an Indian girl. A variety of Indian girls are trooped through the house, but none of them appeal to Rahul. As a result, Rahul’s “drama queen” mother (Moushumi Chatterjee) announces that her daughter Twinky’s (Rishma Malik) marriage must be delayed.

Rahul goes to a club to drink and think about his problems when he meets a girl on the next bar stool. He doesn’t ask many questions, but he decides that she looks Spanish and could impersonate an Indian girl just long enough to impress his family thus allowing Twinky’s marriage to take place. He offers the girl, Sue (Lisa Ray) a large sum of money to pose as his Indian fiancee, and she agrees after placing some strict rules in place.

The first half of the film is very strong parody–and there are a couple of delightful dance numbers (including an Indian drag queen scene). Unfortunately, the film slides into the inevitable romance, and most of the story’s bite is lost in gooey love drippings. I loved the film’s parody of Indian cinema–this part of the film was joyful and funny. Unfortunately, the film did not sustain this quality, and the result is a mediocre Indian-boy-meets-Indian-girl romance. Fans of Indian cinema will appreciate the laughs, and the enjoyment factor depends on your tolerance for frothy romance.

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