This romantic comedy starring Brie Larson feels stilted in terms of its dialogue and relies heavily on the tradition vs progress message – without anything new to say.
It is difficult to know where to start with this uneasy romantic-comedy/musical that while showcases a variety of different sides to India, also never seems comfortable in what it is trying to be and therefore relies too much on stereotypes and cliched messages.
The story follows Linda Watt (Brie Larson) a scientist taken out of her lab and sent to India to try and sell “Rice 9,” a genetically modified rice she’s created. When she gets there she is introduced to an ambitious young bureaucrat, William who will do anything to progress his career and Rajit who questions Linda’s motives. But little does she know the rice she has been sent to try and sell will actually damage the farmers she is trying to help.
Dan Baron’s film has so many ideas crammed into it – not least a number of songs which although try and capture a Bollywood flavour, actually ends up disrupting the flow of the story. It consistently feels as though it is trying too hard to please, which makes it end up relying on painful stereotypes of India, its people and its culture that feels awkward to watch unfold.
This is a real shame as it could have potentially been a solid film – if it had gone down the route that science can’t always provide an answer for everything and that sometimes people meddle too much in these things. But perhaps part of the problem is also that the none of the characters have been written strongly enough for this to come through – each of their dreams, desires and passions have very little conviction to them.
As for the romance side, again the film relies too much on the typical love triangle concept that doesn’t offer anything new to be overly convincing for any of the potential relationships. There is no real conflict or interest shown by Linda and her potential suitors William (Saahil Sehgal) and Rajit (Utkarsh Ambudkar) that it falls flat on what you would expect.
Overall, this is a really painful film to watch, giving audiences very little to engage with in terms of story and character development. A real shame.
Basmati Blues is available on to watch on Digital Download from 12th February.