Gurinder Chadha broke barriers and brought a whole new dimension to crossover cinema with Bend it like Beckam. She sticks by her roots and strengths in her new Southall-based offering, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife.
Roopi Sethi’s (Goldy Notay) mother has a life mission, to see her daughter ‘settled’ (read married) before she joins her beloved husband in heaven. Unfortunately this turn’s out to be more difficult than one would imagine despite the number of desperate Indian men making the rounds. Roopi’s love for jalebis and laddoos is indirectly proportional to the love of prospective husbands and in-laws.
An enraged and defensive Mrs. Sethi (Shabana Azmi) takes culinary skills to another level when she uses these to murder people, baffling the police. As the ghosts of her victims accompany her everywhere Roopi becomes a suspect in the police investigation. Raj (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a family friend, turns out to be a member on the investigating team who reluctantly pursues the leads.
It’s a hilarious ride as the ghosts hatch a plan to get Roopi hitched; desi dance classes and desi speed dating. Chadha manages to balance the fantasy and reality preventing this loony horror-cum-drama from seeming too over the top. She taps the emotions of the chubby, ‘dumped’ Indian girl and the plight of her mother without making it too teary.
Giving the kooky ghosts company is Roopi’s psyshic/psycho friend Linda, who brings in a whole new dimension. There are non-stop comments which crack you up. Some jokes though will only appeal to the Indian audience while leaving others confused. In that sense this movie may not garner the international audience.
Brilliant performances, witty dialogues and a unique script make this light-hearted company a joyride.
If you thought Punjabi drama was funny give Punjabi horror a chance.
Contributed by Raashi Malhotra