Bollywood Queen (2002)
East Meets West - Side Story
Jay (James McAvoy) arrives in the East end of London where he meets up with his brother and his friends who work in a factory dealing in knock off clothing. Shortly after arriving he saves Geena (Preeya Kalidas), a local Indian girl, from a falling piece of scaffolding and in that brief moment something sparks between them. But there is trouble a foot as Jay's from the West Country and Geena's family is Indian with both sides disapproving of their relationship.
So we have Bollywood but done in London and inspired by Romeo & Juliet/ Wes Side Story which sounds like it should be a smash with culture clash comedy and big musical production numbers. But some thing is missing when it comes to "Bollywood Queen" which makes it feel all a little bit rough around the edges almost as if it was made by a bunch of students as a film school project. It doesn't ruin it and anyone who enjoys these types of East meets West culture clash comedies will find enough going on to keep them amused.
Now "Bollywood Queen" is certainly simple enough as it is the classic case of Jay whilst being a West Country boy, cue amusing Wes Country accent from James McAvoy, has a bunch of white friends who believe they shouldn't mix with the Asian community which Geena comes from. And with both sides being involved in the clothing business there is a general sense of rivalry which helps turn it away from purely being cultural issues. But along with this culture clash aspect going on it also parodies Bollywood with not only a variety of production numbers but making fun of stereotypical elements such as how all the movies have the same sort of storyline and music plays at a certain time.
In truth "Bollywood Queen" almost disappoints because it feels unfinished in many areas especially the dialogue which constantly seems forced. There is a lack of naturalness between characters who are supposed to be long time friends and it all sounds awkward. In fairness it makes the scenes which McAvoy and Kalidas share seem almost believable as at least they look natural around each other as young lovers trying to keep their forbidden love a secret.
What this all boils down to is that parts of "Bollywood Queen" are entertaining and if you enjoy culture clash comedies it has plenty to make you smile including James McAvoy's West Country accent. But far too much off the production lets it down and at times it feels a little bit like a film school project.
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