A Decent Arrangement

There are stories, one can remember for decades. There are movies, one can watch umpteen number of times, without getting bored. And, then there are conversations, one can never forget, despite not playing any active role. The connecting thread here is, of course, the one and only one, myriad emotions.

Yes, emotions, those hormone induced involuntary chemical reactions in our neurons that make us feel alive. And, unless and until, a story, a movie, a conversation, a chance encounter, unleashes a plethora of these emotions, one can never connect. And, I believe, this is where A Decent Arrangement failed.

A short movie of little more than one and a half hours, the movie can boast of a worthy premise. Here, we have an Indian American, coming to the land of marital opportunities i.e. India, to select a bride and secure a stable future.

Ashok played by Adam Laupus, comes across as one of those Indians born in America, who are confused as to what their relation to India may be. And, more often not, they end up either eulogizing or criticizing India, without fully understanding it. They say, distance makes things either more attractive or more disgustful, depending on your attitude and circumstances.

But, in the present movie, our Hero goes one step further and decides to get married to an Indian girl, with the help of his cousin, in a desperate attempt to discover his own identity! A bad decision indeed, as he discovers a little too late.

Ashok is ably supported by his dominating, go getter cousin played by Shabana Azmi, who does an impressive work of labelling girls with desirable, backup and useless categories along with their dietary restrictions and twelfth class scores. An enviable bride hunter indeed!

But, the only problem is that our groom is a bit too laid back and a bit too honest to admit his lack of ambition unabashedly. Girl’s parents, looking for a high profile American Son in law, are deflated by this junior copywriter, with scant regard to ambition.

However, Shabana’s persistence does allow him to fish out a bride. The only problem, she is an ambitious woman, looking towards marriage only to please her parents. She straightaway tells Ashok not to expect any love from her. The dry chemistry between the arranged couple, is disturbed by the occasional appearance of Lorie, an American expat, who shakes Ashok out of his reluctant stupor. And, a Decent Arrangement falls apart, well, Decently.

I have narrated the whole story as there are indeed no surprises in the movie. It simply runs on a predictable course and fails to excite the viewer. The movie did have potential. There were some humorous well shot scenes. The stage brightens up a bit with Ashok’s parents entry. But, the lack of fire in dialogues and slow paced narrative, interspersed with boring street shots of Chandigarh and equally boring musical score, ensured that it failed to touch chords.

It could have been way better, if only direction was a little tighter and lead actors, a bit lighter in their approach. Just two stars for this Fest Fav movie, I watched tonight on Netflix. Watch only if you must!

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