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    Soft soap

    Software engineers and the women who love them are the subject of the good-hearted romantic comedy "Flavors," about the foibles of Indian transplants in America.


    If you're Indian-American, of course, you can add five or six stars to any critic's rating of "Flavors" just for the self-recognition factor. The night I saw the movie, the mostly Indian audience howled with laughter at everything from the contents of a care package from home to the way one character shakes his head yes and no at the same time. But even if you're not Indian, the movie is a pleasing sendup of dating, high-tech contract employment and the immigrant experience.

    Directed by: Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru.
    Produced by: Krishna D.K., Anupam Mittal, Raj Nidimoru.
    Written by: Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru, Mohit Rajhans.
    Cast: Reef Karim, Anjaan Srivastav, Bharati Achrekar, Pooja Kumar, Rishma Malik, Jicky Schnee, Anupam Mittal, Sireesha Katragadda, Gaurang Vyas, Mohit Shah, Punit Jasuja, Gaurav Rawal, Manan Katohora.
    Cinematography: David Isern.
    Edited by: Frank Reynolds.
    Music by: Mahesh Shankar.
    In English and Hindi with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    The film starts with the scene of a cell-phone call interrupting a wedding just at the part where the priest says, "If anyone knows of a reason...," and in this upwardly mobile, plugged-in crowd the phone could be anybody's. The film juggles a considerable roster of characters to show the paths that happened to bring all these people together on this blessed, if custom-ring-tone-disrupted, occasion.

    If one story is particularly central in this ensemble piece, it's that of Rachna (Pooja Kumar), a stunningly attractive California woman who, since she is still scandalously single in her mid-20s, has friends and family desperate to fix her up with a good man. This week's lucky suitor is Ramana Dasarakothapalli (Manan Katohora), whose name is so convoluted even the Indian people laugh about it behind his back. Making uninterested small talk, Rachna asks him what he does.

    "Guess," he says sportingly.

    "Anthropology," she offers in a deadpan voice.

    "No! Software consulting!" he boasts. Seeing that she's not impressed, he adds: "Oh, you were joking, right?"

    Turns out, if there's a single male character in the whole movie who isn't a software consultant, that's only because he's a laid-off software consultant. Who can get excited about one more generic IT guy? She conveys her lack of enthusiasm to New Jersey-based best-buddy Kartik (Reef Karim), but she's still willing to follow through with Mr. Dasarakotha-whatever because a girl has got to get married, after all. The handsome Kartik, who does nothing to hide his long-distance crush on Rachna, knows he isn't going to get a chance with her, so he tries to be kinda sorta supportive of this arranged matchup.

    Meanwhile, many of the best scenes belong to veteran Indian TV actors Anjaan Srivastav (seen in "Mississippi Masala") and Bharati Achrekar as the parents of Rad (Anupam Mittal), a stylish young transplant who's the groom in the upcoming wedding. He's marrying a tall, slender blonde American named Jenni (Jicky Schnee), whose meeting with the old-world parents promises misunderstandings aplenty.

    "Flavors" is a gentle comedy with enough heart and smarts to keep even outsiders well entertained. It's a film full of stereotypes, but while other American minority groups may either combat or satirize others' stereotypes about them, in this case the Indian filmmakers are making fun of their own view of themselves. There are some nice original romantic-comedic ideas along the way, and writer-directors Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru can be congratulated for offering this window into the star-crossed lives of this appealing, just slightly zany group.

    AUGUST 6, 2004

    Reader comments on Flavors:

  • Farce!!   from Ramya, Mar 31, 2005
  • Re: Farce!!   from Ravi, Jul 15, 2005
  • superb   from azi, Oct 12, 2005
  • awesome   from neha, Dec 24, 2005
  • Great ONEEE   from Noga, Mar 31, 2006
  • Flavors CD/DVD   from Samir Bayani, Jul 27, 2006
  • Very good movie   from Abel, Mar 2, 2007
  • Excellent movie   from simha, May 14, 2007
  • Flavors-the faboulus movie   from Jatin Bansal, Aug 14, 2007
  • Good one   from hima Pendyala, Sep 3, 2007

  • Post a comment on "Flavors"