Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee stars in this cross-cultural romantic comedy, the first production of the Australia India Film Fund.
Beautiful divorcee and single mother of one, Meera (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is an Australian of Indian origin. Smart and independent, she has carved out a successful life for herself and her daughter … in the face of significant family pressure to find ‘a nice Indian man’. Meera’s mother, in particular, is always on Meera’s case and has her sights set on an Indian doctor as the perfect match. But her overtures are wearing very thin with Meera, who has a chance meeting with Will (Lee), who teaches “Australianisms” to new immigrants. Will is immediately smitten by this exotic beauty, but isn’t aware of the complexities of Meera’s family, nor her family history.
Among the obstacles he has to overcome is that Meera is gun shy and her daughter is afraid any new man in her mother’s life will see her taken away from her mum. That’s even before you factor in the displeasure of Meera’s parents and the fact that her ex-husband is still on the scene. You see, falling in love with an Australian man is not only scandalous, but positively unIndian!
In a generally lighthearted manner, the film highlights the complexities of wooing another from a different culture. With no shortage of colour and only a little music and dance (of course, hardly the norm when you talk about Bollywood movies), unIndian feels like a telemovie or a throwback to rom coms of a bygone era.
While some of the acting, especially at the outset, appears a tad wooden or forced, Lee is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, good and natural. Of course, his charming smile and positive disposition don’t hurt. Although I wasn’t familiar with her work, Tannishtha Chatterjee (Brick Lane) gives the movie some clout.
Much of script is signposted. In other words, in large part you get what you would expect. unIndian was written by Thushy Sathi, who was responsible for one other feature, LOVE by Shakespeare. Fortunately, there are a couple of surprises in the second half of the film that provide a bit of drama and help elevate the overall offering.
Directed by Anupam Sharma, who is head of the Australian India Film Fund, the film was shot in Sydney and around NSW and certainly showcases the Harbour City as a place of beauty. Martin McGrath (Muriel’s Wedding) was responsible for the cinematography. Product placement is hard to miss, with Destination NSW, the University of NSW and Cochlear among those that have clearly invested heavily in unIndian.
Probably the best thing I could say about the picture is that it is a pleasant enough distraction, if not all that memorable.
Rated M, unIndian scores a 6 out of 10.
Director: Anupam Sharma
Cast: Bree Lee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, John Howard, Tiriel Mora, Maya Sathimoorthy
Release Date: 15 October 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television