Say what you will but India is undoubtedly the CMC of the world, the Crap Movie Capital of the world.
Yes, we can already hear the tipsy, patriotic yokels coming out of the woodwork yelling out – Oh, you are not aware of the cornucopia of alternate movies that never make it to the U.S., you only watch the Bollywood or Kollywood balderdash and reach tenuous conclusions, you only love Hollywood films, yada yada yada. All drivel, all the time.
Count it any way you want but the crap-to-quality ratio of Indian movies is at least 95-5.
The centrality of Bollywood or Kollywood is a lack of imagination, the absence of even passable acting, shameless theft and fans with IQ below 70. End result – Non-actors like Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Ajith, Vijay, Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Nayantara, Deepika Padukone, Bipasha Basu and non-filmmakers like David Dhawan, Goldie Behl, Subhash Ghai, Murugadoss and Prabhu Deva rule the roost.
Given our frustration with Indian movies, we’ve taken to watching foreign language movies lately. And the results are mostly gratifying.
We recently viewed a Danish movie After the Wedding a.k.a. Efter brylluppet with a connection to India.
And what a fine movie it turned out to be. Most definitely worth your time and the DVD rental fee.
Although After the Wedding (directed by Susanne Bier) is set mostly in Denmark, the movie begins and ends in India.
After the Wedding starts with Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen), an English teacher and manager of an orphanage in India, ladling out food plates from the back of a pickup truck. While the kids at the orphanage are Indian, Jacob is a Dane.
With funding for the orphanage in a precarious state, a letter arrives from Denmark offering the possibility of assistance but insisting that Jacob must go there in person for the meeting with the donors.
Back in Denmark
A reluctant Jacob heads to his home-country Denmark to obtain the funding but not before promising young Pramod (a young kid he’s close to) that he’ll be back in eight days, in time for the little boy’s birthday.
In Denmark, Jacob meets the orphanage’s potential benefactor Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard), a billionaire with a nice wife and three children.
After a cursory and indifferent look at the video of the orphanage that Jacob has brought along, Jorgen invites him to a wedding in his family the next day. Although reluctant, at Jorgen’s insistence Jacob attends the wedding.
Now, you probably think it’s all so boring. Shows how little you know of life.
After so many years on this weird planet, if we have learned anything at all it’s that Life is full of twists and turns that happen in the oddest of circumstances. The first twist in After the Wedding happens at Anna’s wedding.
One of the main reasons why most Indian movies are so pathetic is because they are so predictable, invariably inducing a dejavu numbness minutes into the movie. We are sick to death of the silly song-dance sequences in Switzerland, Namibia or Peru, the amateurish fights and the crappy, banal love stories. And even when there is a twist in Indian movies, it’s handled so crudely that it makes you want to puke your intestines out.
The charm of After the Wedding lies not merely in the twists in the tale (fine as they are) but also in the solid acting and a nice story beautifully told. By the way, the movie’s director is Susanne Bier.
As the movie progresses, we are initially bewildered by Jorgen’s actions and odd remarks and then gradually understand why he is going slow on signing the funding agreement. And when finally Jorgen does sign the funding for the orphanage, there comes another twist.
The billionaire Jorgen puts forth a new requirement as a condition for funding the Indian orphanage, leaving Jacob incensed. Will Jacob with his commitment and attachment to the kids in the Indian orphanage be able to handle the new requirement?
While every actor in the movie does a superb job, we were completely bowled over by Rolf Lassgard’s performance. In three key scenes – with Jacob while signing the funding agreement, with his daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen) toward the end and with his wife Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen) in the bedroom, again toward the end of the movie – you get a measure of this actor’s talent.
In one of the finest scenes from the movie, an anguished Jorgen screams at Jacob, Do I have to live on the other side of the world [meaning India] to get your help?
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends After the Wedding. Don’t worry about not understanding Danish because the DVD has English subtitles.
If we haven’t told you this before, After the Wedding was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. No surprise, if you ask us.
If you live in the U.S, you can get After the Wedding from Netflix. For those living in India, well, online stealing is a national pastime there, isn’t it?