Why I Left Hollywood
Depression time! I remember why I bought a ticket and popcorn some years ago to screen
It’s a Wonderful After Life, directed by Gurinder Chadha.
I did it because I tend to follow Shabani Azmi around. She was just spectacular in Umrao Jaan as the madam in a house of song and sin. Big mistake! I found myself looking at a story that is responsible for my flight from Hollywood.
I screen Indian movies because I cannot bear to see another Hollywood story about who done it, police officers under pressure from the mayor or governor, a car parked outside tapping conservation from a police officer who has a wire, an interrogation room etc.
Most of all, I left Hollywood because of the joke about food, the classic one is hitting somebody with a cream cake or falling over a cream cake. There I was in a cinema theatre watching opening scenes about somebody being forced to eat a mountain of curry and an operating theatre where it all bursts open.
Should I walk out? Is this a Hollywood movie or a film from an independent director like Gurinder Chadha who gave us Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice? The thought of Shabani Azmi in the movie Umrao Jaan held me back.
It’s a Wonderful After Life is about murders that revolve around food. Apparently, there had been three previous murders in Southall, a predominantly Indian area in London. The film is centred on four ghosts and the unknown murderer.
Mrs. Sethi, Shabana Azmi’s character is the only person who can see these ghosts for the simple reason that she killed them. The link to the murders seems to be Roopi, her daughter (Goldy Notay) who cannot find a husband because she is overweight.
Roopi holds the film together with her love for food and the fact that she is basically a very good person. She works in a shelter for abused women and loves her mother despite the fact that she is always arranging marriage for her.
Roopi and her mother meet Raj, a police officer who happens to be a childhood friend (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Raj has been recently transferred to Southall and is given the assignment to investigate the murders.
Watch the movie and come to your own conclusion.
British film Truly Madly Deeply
I remember Truly, Madly, Deeply directed by Anthony Minghella, starring the character-embracing Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman. Minghella went on to direct The English Patient. I suppose I’m such a cinema buff because I lived opposite Carlton Cinemas in Toronto, adjacent to the Maple Leaf Gardens.
That is where I first screened Truly, Madly, Deeply a film about ghosts. Nina, played by Juliet Stevenson cannot get over the death of her boyfriend Jamie, played by Alan Rickman.
She cries when she plays the piano, which reminds her of him. In fact, everything does. “Walk in the middle of the road,” Jamie used to advise Nina when she’s walking home from the tube station at night.
This is my favourite ghost film. I saw Alan Rickman in The Butler starring Forest Whitaker recently and immediately thought of Truly, Madly, Deeply.