Review: My Bollywood Bride

MovieSteve rating:
Kashmira Shah and Jason Lewis by a pool
Kashmira Shah and Jason Lewis in My Bollywood Bride



Rom-coms are all about the journey and not the destination, so they say. If that’s true, then mark My Bollywood Bride down as a trip in an overheated vehicle, with terrible scenery outside and fellow passengers you’d kill yourself to be away from.

The boy-meets-girl plot sees Sex and the City’s Jason Lewis as a writer who meets an Indian babe (Kashmira Shah) in California, and then woos her, unaware that she’s a big Bollywood star. Until, that is, he heads off to India to see her again, and immediately cops an eyeful of her smiling down at him from a big advertising hoarding at the roadside.

My Bollywood Bride scores some points because it is, unbelievably, a true story, though the real life Lewis was in fact an investment banker called Brad Listermann. And once Listermann had wooed and wed (is that a spoiler?) his lady, he wrote a script about the whole thing, then became a film producer to get his story on screen. And then cast his wife as the female lead.

This is either extreme resourcefulness or hideous self-regard. I tend towards seeing it as the latter, largely because I found Lewis and co-star Shah such a repellent couple, the film only springing into life when it dealt with the subplot of the up-and-coming Bollywood star who’s starting to believe his own publicity too much, and the smalltown girl he dumped to grab his shot at fame. Though they’re clearly the B team comedy support, Sanjay Suri and Neha Dubey remind us what fresh, charming and attractive people look like, and actors who can read a leaden script with a certain flair, who can interact believably.

Far less successful are the song and dance interludes, the opening number New Freaking Bollywood having a fingernails-on-the-blackboard insistence that speaks of the cultural cringe.

At least My Bollywood Bride stays in Mumbai once it gets there. Crossover Bollywood usually contrives to shift the action to the US at the earliest opportunity, with “back home” often relegated to split-screen telephone-call intrusion. This, alongside Suri and Dubey, as well as well as the peeks the film gives into the Bollywood production process, gives the film some claim to watchability. Some, I said. For the most part, though, too often the whole thing comes across like a Bollywood movie that’s had a big lumbering blond oaf injected into it.



My Bollywood Bride aka My Faraway Bride – Watch it/buy it at Amazon







© Steve Morrissey 2006




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My Faraway Bride (2006) Comedy, Drama, Romance | 95min | 22 March 2007 (India) 4.7
Director: Rajeev ViraniWriter: Brad Listermann, Richard MartiniStars: Jason Lewis, Kashmira Shah, Gulshan GroverSummary: My Bollywood Bride tells the story of Alex, a copy-writer dreaming of being an adventure novelist someday, who meets and romances Indian beauty Reena, while she is vacationing in California. Torn by her blossoming feelings for Alex and her Indian family values and obligations, Reena returns home without saying goodbye. Alex, distraught by the turn of events, decides to follow her to Mumbai and win her back. The trouble is, Alex couldn't be more out of his element on the sub-continent, not helped by the fact Reena has kept something very important about her from him (Reena is the top Bollywood film star - the Julia Roberts of India)! However, with the help of a rambunctious rickshaw driver and some of Reenas friends, Alex just might have a chance at winning her heart. A parallel love story centers on Bobby, an up-and-coming Bollywood star, who has forgotten his roots and started to believe his own press. As a close friend of Reena, he tries to help her by taking Alex under his wing. ... Written by BK


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