It's a Wonderful Afterlife

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Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedies

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st April 2010

Budget: 10

Distributed by: UTV Communications

Production compaines: Studio 18, Bend It Films, Indian Film Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Shabana Azmi as Mrs. Sethi, Goldy Notay as Roopi Sethi, Sendhil Ramamurthy as D S Raj Murthy, Sally Hawkins as Linda / Gitali, Mark Addy as D I Smythe

It's a Wonderful Afterlife Movie Review


Filmmaker Chadha is back with another uneven comedy, although unlike Bride & Prejudice, this isn't actually a Bollywood variation on the Frank Capra classic: it's a London farce about arranged marriage with a ghostly twist.

The widowed Mrs Sethi (Azmi) is worried that her slightly overweight daughter Roopi (Notay) will never find a husband. Every match she arranges turns Roopi down, which leads Mrs Sethi to react murderously. But now the ghosts (Khan, Bkaskar, Ross and Varrez) of her victims are offering to help in order to improve their chances of reincarnation. Fortunately, Roopi's childhood friend Murthy (Ramamurthy) is back in town and hugely eligible. Unfortunately, he's a detective looking for the killer.

The film takes the general tone of a TV comedy sketch, complete with cheesy make-up and effects and eye-rolling performances. Some of this is funny, although the script swings wildly between slapstick and teary emotion, so we never quite settle on a reaction to it. Adding to the craziness is Roopi's best friend Linda (Hawkins), back in town with a sudden fiance (Mistry) after a mind-opening stint in an ashram. Hawkins adds a layer of professionalism to the comedy, and she also gets the best set piece, a silly pastiche of the Carrie prom scene.

But it's the jarring awkwardness of all of these elements that keeps the film from amounting to anything. As with her previous films, Chadha throws everything she can think of at the screen in an attempt to win us over. This tends to work better when her stories are more focused (as with Bend it Like Beckham or Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging), but this film is so scattershot that it's more exhausting than endearing.

That said, Chadha is always good at portraying culture clashes on screen, as well as capturing the everyday rhythms of the Indian subculture. The Bollywood numbers are actually the most entertaining things here, and the most interesting characters are Roopi's younger brother (Panthaki) and his Jewish pal (Gordon), although they're not on-screen nearly enough. And I haven't even mentioned the problems with making a comedy in which your heroine is a (frankly unlikely) murderer. Do I need to?


Contactmusic

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It's a Wonderful Afterlife Rating

" Weak "

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