A cross-cultural romance comes with its own tropes. A successful one manages to break free while acknowledging the need for said conventions. UnIndian does quite well on that count; it’s familiar enough and yet manages to please.
So there’s Will Henderson (Brett Lee), a true-blue Aussie who teaches a bunch of rookies the rules of English as it is spoken Down Under. He hangs out with his best buds, one brown, one white and tries learning how to date Indian chicks.
And there’s Meera (Chatterjee) who’s certainly not a ‘chick’ even if she has strong desi roots. She has a bad marriage behind her, and a spunky little daughter, and is not ready for the dating game. But the flare of attraction between the two is real and strong, and the way it develops, slow and steady, makes UnIndian a true rom com.
Meera’s parents, played by Aakash Khurana and Supriya Pathak, add heft to the film, though you wish the latter would stop going so much on the doctor-MBA-good-match; Pathak is quite capable of speaking without such a broad accent.
There are more brush-strokes in the whole desi community bonding over Holi (with ‘I’, not ‘y’), spicy cookery shows, and hot Indian curry restaurants. But the thing between the two lovers makes up for those predictable patches.
Lee, surprisingly, isn’t bad at all, and manages the emotional bits quite well, though he does flatten in bits. So does the film, but meanwhile it makes its point that East and West can sometimes be best.
What UnIndian does, most of all, to rescue Tannishta Chatterjee from all those faux ‘gaon-walis’ she has been forced to play because she is ‘dusky’. “Beta, wipe your face, you look so dark,” says a well-meaning aunty to Meera, and Meera looks at her and smiles, and says, “But I am dark.”
And doesn’t wipe her face. Good stuff.
Director : Anupam Sharma
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Brett Lee, Pallavi Sharda, Supriya Pathak, Akash Khurana, Gulshan Grover