Reflections: Loins of Punjab Presents

Loins of Punjab


One afternoon, almost a year ago, I came across this movie being played on one of the English movie channels. The name instantly caught my eye - not Lions but Loins.I could watch the first twenty or so minutes of it then got embroiled in other tasks and had to skip seeing the remaining part. Nonetheless, it left an enduring image strong enough to propel me to buy a DVD of it - that too on a random visit to Crossword.

The characters, the setting, the mannerisms of the characters and their dressing style reeks of ABCD's (American Born Confused Desi's) and is a riot of errors - the musical and comical ones. Loins of Punjab is a firm specializing in pork and is organizing a Desi Idol, probably in
New Jersey (excuse my geography of USA). A multitude of characters get to know of it and want tot try their hand at winning the $25,000 cash prize. Rrita Kapoor (with a double R, played by Mrs. Shabana Azmi), BDG (Ajay Naidu), Preeti Patel (by Ishita Sharma) and Josh (Michael Raimondi) are the most memorable ones. Rrita is a philanthropist but more of an egoist who wants to win and show it to the world how large her heart (read kitty) is; BDG is a brash Sardar with in-your-face fuck-you-motherfucker attitude with a pal of his always in tow; Preeti Patel is the typical docile Gujju girl with a whole entourage of hers - her cousins, uncles, aunts, younger brother (who is underage but already hooked to porn like Pulp Friction, Batman and Throbbin); and Josh is an American smitten by things Indian like yoga, music and movies. 

Rrita conspires to defeat the others by putting her own mole as one of the judges to get insider information about the performances of other aspirants. BDG is brash and swears at the thought of drop of a hat. And Preeti Patel (for whose parents singing can only be a Ho-Bee) is the best singer, matched only by Rrita. In the whole melee of events, Josh wins the competition towards the end and Mr. Bokade (Jameel Khan), the organizer, is left to defend on how an 'outsider' could win the Desi Idol.

This is one of those few movies which made me laugh out loudly even though I was watching it alone! The contestants are, yes, typical but the movie goes beyond that and humorously brings out serious topics  like the bias against Muslims and Sikhs after 9-11, the Indian community refusing to mingle with the Americans and treating them as 'outsiders' in their own country, the suffocating attitude of Indian parents wanting their children to become only a doctor or engineer and the difficulties of American-born persons with Indian background to come to terms with their own culture. By far, though I haven't seen all, one of the top three ABCD-themed movies.

Two reverberating scenes which refuse to fade from memory are: BDG doing the Bhangra Hip-Hop in the finals after sneaking in - the energy and excitement he generates in the audience makes your hair actually stand up; and Josh singing the Indian National Anthem!

A must watch.


Update: The Making

I did not watch the complementary DVD right away as I didn't expect much in it except a few customary interviews, behind the scenes and recording. But when I did - there is only one word by which I can describe the whole effort put by the crew in getting the movie made: WOW!

I thought the whole of the movie was shot in the US, but no - the locations were all sets created in and around Bombay. The behind the scenes with Manish Acharya brings out how much trouble the director has to go through along with the other production cast to get everything done on time. And it only saddened me to know that Manish Acharya, who even played the role of a super intelligent finance guy in the movie, died in December, 2010 in Matheran as he fell down from a horse and hit his head. His last tweet was on 3-Dec-2010.

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