Chicken Tikka Masala Movie Review

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With Chicken Tikka Masala, 18-year-old screenwriter Roopesh Parekh has penned a lively but vacuous mashup of My Beautiful Laundrette and The Wedding Banquet. It's a fun and sprawling farce that glosses over the heavy issues it raises with comedy.

Jimi (Chris Bisson), the number one son of a prosperous immigrant Indian family living in Preston, England, should be married by now. What his parents don't know is that his "roommate," the dewy young British lad Jack (Peter Ash), is also his gay lover. The two live in a house they share with Jack's sister Vanessa (Sally Bankes), a drunken low-class "fat slag" with a heart of gold, and her chubby daughter Hannah (Katy Clayton).

When Jimi's parents surprise him with the prospect of an arranged marriage to the lovely Simran (Jinder Mahal), who's just arrived from India with her extended family in tow, he's too shocked to say no and explain why. A ceremony is scheduled for five days' hence, and panic ensues.

Hoping to stop an event that she senses will break up her happy home, Hannah (in one of those annoying cinematic coincidences) is able to feed a lie to one of Jimi's relatives, telling her that she is Jimi and Vanessa's illegitimate daughter. Panic ensues again.

Jimi and Vanessa are appalled, but soon Jimi realizes that if he hangs on to this lie, then at least he won't have to marry Simran. Yes, but in order to save face (and the prepaid wedding expenses), Jimi's shocked and disgusted family insists that he marry Vanessa and make an honest woman of her. Panic ensues one more time.

The Act III wedding farce, with the bloated Vanessa wrapped in acres of yellow sari cloth and Jimi in a sequined turban, is fun to watch, most notably for the antics of Jimi's 90-something year old Grandma (Zohra Sehgal) (the actress really is 93 years old!), who shuffles around casting spells on everything and everyone she disapproves of. A sudden happy ending in which Jimi's father (the legendary Saeed Jaffrey, who also happened to star in My Beautiful Laundrette 20 years ago) easily forgives all Jimi's lies and accepts his shocking revelations, is far too simplistic. Still, the movie has its fun moments. Watch out for angry grannies who know witchcraft!

Not too spicy, please.

Cast & Crew

Director : Harmage Singh Kalirai

Producer : Sanjay Tandon

Starring : , Peter Ash, Sally Bankes, Katy Clayton, Jinder Mahal,

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Comments

Chicken Tikka Masala Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 2004

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