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Cinema: Its a wonderful afterlife-Satyen K. Bordoloi

It’s A Wonderful Afterlife

Mind you, it's so lifeless!

My-FLIX/By Ridhi Chhabra


Best of world cinema

Director: Gurinder Chadha
Actors: Shabana Azmi, Goldy Notay, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Steve Morphew
Rating: 2 on a scale of 5

Its a wonderful afterlife

A good film is like the well cooked roghan josh. The spices need to be just right. It has to maintain consistency and end with pleasure. ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ is an average mutton dish, and there’s too much of spicery in the film.

Mrs. Sethi (Shabana Azmi) is just like any other mother in India, or the Indian community in England, desperate to have her daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay) married. The only problem is that she is fat and not so attractive. Hence, almost every prospect, not only rejects her, but insults her.

Eerily everyone who insults her ends up dying under weird circumstances. The murderer, as you rightly guessed is Mrs. Sethi. Sadly, the spirits of those murdered are stuck in this world till the time that their murderer herself dies, but she does not want to die till her daughter is married.

Hence, it is up to the four benevolent spirits to guide the mother in the art of getting the daughter hooked with the right guy. Meanwhile, the police are closing in on solving the murder case, even as more people and a Pomeranian die.

The foursome fail to deliver...
Gurinder Chadha returns to her favourite subject, Punjabi mother’s obsession for wedding their daughters.  Sadly its an overdose of the spice. While Paul had Aishwarya Rai heal people with spices in 'The Mistress of Spices', Gurinder uses the same to kill in this film.
There are quite a few pointless subplots and characters left incomplete. Many scenes that are meant to make you laugh, seem like a drag and unnecessary, like the one where Roopi’s best friend conjures up psychic powers only to throw food at the gathering, and figuratively at the audience watching the film.

Shabana Azmi, despite having gained weight alongside her acting prowess, does not really fit into the character of a Punjabi mother. Shaheen Khan in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, who also plays a role here, would perhaps have been a better fit.

The jokes and cracks made at Indians in the UK have been made stale by Gurinder herself in her previous films. There are too many plot inconsistencies and even in the makeup of the spirits, for the comfort of a discerning viewer. 

‘It’s A Wonderful Afterlife’ is a meal that should definitely not be someone’s first option. Have it only if there aren’t any other  better options...

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