Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj
Reviewer's Summary - Delightful
Year: December 1, 2006 in the U.S.
Actors: Kal Penn, Daniel Percival, Shobu Kapoor, Lauren Cohan, Anthony Cozens, Tom Davey, Holly Davidson
Director: Mort Nathan
Written by: David Drew Gallagher
Music: Robert Folk
Sequel to the popular Van Wilder (2002), Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj starring Indian-American actor Kal Penn (real name - Kalpen Suresh Modi) is a delightful movie.
Although it doesn't really break new ground on any front, Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj is still kinda nice. And a gazillion times better than most of the Bollywood tripe making its way to the U.S.
Released on December 1, 2006 in the U.S., Van Wilder:The Rise of Taj is the cute tale of a young Indian-American graduate student Taj Mahal Badalandabad (Kal Penn) who arrives at a British University called Camford and his positive influence over a bunch of low self-esteem junior students.
Taj's antagonist at Camford is the stuffy Pipp Everett, the Earl of Grey (Daniel Percival). Pipp refuses Taj admission to the exclusive Fox and Hounds fraternal guild setting in motion a rivalry that is one of the underpinnings of this movie.
While he doesn't set the screen afire, Kal Penn is a decent actor and played Van's sidekick in the first version of Van Wilder.
We can't think of any Indian actor (in India or abroad) who's as good as Kal on the comic side. With his deadpan expression as he delivers verbal stings, Kal's just hilarious.
Beautiful Lauren Cohan plays Charlotte Higginson, Taj's teaching supervisor. To Taj's chagrin, Charlotte is also Pipp's girlfriend.
Taj is instantly smitten with Charlotte but she is initially disdainful of him and only slowly warms up to him.
Like Kal, the lovely Lauren Cohan does an effective job. Born in Philadelphia, the British actress lived in the U.S. for a short while before hopping the pond.
Under Taj's stewardship, the bunch of four student misfits set up their own exclusive society Cock and Bulls, gradually improve their self-esteem and vie for the venerable Hastings Cup.
And guess what, the Cock and Bulls eventually win the cup at the end.
N.B. - Apparently, much of Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj was shot in the Romanian capital Bucharest. - Copyright Rekha Inc.