MURDER UNVEILED (Vic Sarin) Rating: NNN
This movie aired on CBC-TV last year, but it's definitely worth catching in the diverse Masala! Mehndi! Masti! film series, and not just because of all the terrific local theatre actors of South Asian origin who fill the screen.
Anita Majumdar, the talented writer/performer of the much-remounted SummerWorks hit Fish Eyes, plays Davinder, a high school student from a wealthy Canadian Sikh family who falls in love with the lower-caste Surinder (Chenier Hundal) on a trip to India. She carries on the affair and, Romeo And Juliet-style, marries Surinder behind her controlling parents' backs even though they're trying to set her up with more upwardly mobile marital prospects.
Director Vic Sarin and his writers, inspired by the real-life murder of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, rely a bit too much on the R&J formula, right down to a balcony wooing scene. But the gorgeous leads have astonishing chemistry, and, even though we know what eventually happens, the flashbacks and flash-forwards are deftly woven into the gripping narrative.
As a bonus, we get to see Majumdar, who trained in Indian classical dance for years, hit the dance floor for a few eye-popping moves, and thesps like Sanjay Talwar and Vik Sahay deliver strong support work.
PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS (Saket Chaudhary) Rating: NNN
Here's proof that India can crank out funny but formulaic rom-coms as easily as Hollywood.
Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat play a couple who've been dating for three years and are at odds about taking the relationship to the next level. She left her last fiancé at the altar three years earlier, and he has major commitment issues.
Writer/director Saket Chaudhary cribs from a variety of sources, including Runaway Bride and Meet The Parents. Bose's Sid addresses the camera a few too many times, and although the film is filled with amusing jokes and lots of spot-on humour about the differences between the sexes, it's about 30 minutes too long. I could also have done without the stupid homophobic gag in the final third.
Bose, a natural comic who appears in many of the M! M! M! films and looks frighteningly like a South Asian Hank Azaria, walks the fest red carpet on opening night during Pyar Ke's screening July 27 at the QE Theatre. (Murder Unveiled screens July 28.)