MY BOLLYWOOD BRIDE: Alex, 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 say... more »ing 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 (she?s the Julia Roberts of India)! With the help of a rambunctious rickshaw driver and some of Reenas friends, Alex just might have a chance at winning her back.« less
This film leaves a door open to the world of Bollywood - but
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 08/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"So this is the story of a young couple who meet and fall in love, an aspiring American writer named Alex and an Indian girl named Reena holidaying in Los Angeles. Then one day Reena leaves Alex without saying goodbye. Alex is so smitten that he tracks her all the way to Mumbai, India, where he finds out that Reena is Bollywood's most famous actress. And that she's already engaged in one of those traditional arranged marriages, and to a possessive, intimidating movie producer.
There's also a subplot involving Reena's actor friend, Bobby K., trying to win back the lovely childhood friend he had rebuffed so many years ago.
MY FARAWAY BRIDE (originally titled MY BOLLYWOOD BRIDE in its international release) is a passable if uninspired romantic comedy. It's okay. It runs at just a smidgen over an hour and a half, with its story narrated primarily in English, but with some Hindi dialogue. So it's not really a true Bollywood flick. Rather, it's a Hollywood picture containing diluted Bollywood elements and even flaunting just a touch of Notting Hill (Collector's Edition).
A lot of the scenes deal with Bollywood actors Reena and Bobby K.'s shooting of their next film, so we get a bit of a peek in what goes on when creating Bollywood cinema. There are a few colorful Bollywood numbers, but, instead of the characters breaking into song independent of the movie's internal reality, the backdrop of the Bollywood movie within the movie allows the actors to go naturally into their musical routines. Incidentally, the film also does a fair job of capturing a hectic slice of life in Mumbai, with Alex providing the tepid fish-out-of-water perspective.
The story is in part very, very loosely based on lead actress Kashmera Shah and her American husband (and this film's producer) Brad Listermann's real-life romance. It covers the culture shock a westerner experiences when suddenly steeped in Eastern surroundings. Indian tradition (hidebound or not) is a common theme in Bollywood, and, in fact, it plays a huge role here, with Reena's parents having decided to form a marriage contract for her, without her consent. So it was disappointing, how it takes only one fleeting scene for the parents-daughter conflict to be resolved.
The movie's main crumbling point lies with the two leads. Jason Lewis, who eerily resembles Casper Van Dien, plays Alex and Kashmera Shah plays Reena. They're both good-looking folks, but I wasn't convinced of them as a sizzling couple. Kashmera, while not spectacular, does okay in a trite, noninteresting role. Jason Lewis, however, is stiff and shows off the acting range of a cabbage. Plenty of his scenes tend to fall flat. To me, Jason's character Alex, once he gets to Mumbai, doesn't do nearly enough to win the girl. He doesn't come up with any grand romantic gestures, another thing which separates this from a Bollywood film. His bid for Reena's hand consists of looking incredulously at her and asking: "You're really going to marry that guy?" He does this a bunch of times. So, yes, their romance could've played out better. That this movie occasionally stumbles is reflected by Bobby's pursuit of Alisha being at times more intriguing than the main characters's love story.
So, yes, the supporting cast fares better. Sanjay Suri as Bobby K. and Ash Chandler as the friendly auto rickshaw driver Priyad provide quite a few good moments. Sanjay's demonstration of the seven steps of success in Bollywood is pretty darn funny, especially if you're familiar with Bollywood cinema. Neha Dubey as the choreographer Alisha is sullen and spunky and pretty, and she sparkles in her two featured dance numbers.
The funniest thing uttered here may well be in the Making Of bonus feature, as Indian-American actor Ash Chandler comments on his escape from Hollywood, a place which didn't offer too many non-stereotypical roles for Indian actors. Ash had then moved to Bollywood only to find himself, five years later, playing a cabby. If that doesn't smack of the ironic, I don't know what does. I can laugh at that because Ash tells it with such good humor. Also, stick around 'til the end credits for some fun outtakes, some of which feature Ash Chandler.
Listen, MY FARAWAY BRIDE isn't bad. I just wish the leads were better actors and that the story had more snap. But if you're looking for an introductory film about Bollywood, the high-spirited Bride and Prejudice is the one to pop in the player. It features Aishwarya Rai, who is, for my money, the most beautiful woman on earth. In real life, Aishwarya Rai is Bollywood's most famous actress."
Based upon a true Story
Harold A. Fretheim | Juanita, WA | 10/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a romantic comedy- it is a romance. More to the point, it is in fact 'semi-autobiograghical'- which is to say it is no doubt a very fictionalized story loosely based upon the writer's experience. To the extent that there seems to be flaws in this story this may be in part because at some point the author was honoring what really happened as opposed to what the formula that you expected would have dictated. To me, these are not flaws but rather the revelation of our real, and at times conflicted, humanity. The acting was truly great- even minor characters were very well done. The singing and dancing scenes were some of the best I have seen. The women are very beautiful. This is at times a visual spectacle as well as a pair of love stories.
It is also a vision of India. Not a charicature of India but rather of a modern India that is stuggling to reconcile its traditions and values with the modern world. A major them is the emergence of the importance of individual liberty and choice as opposed to the more authoritarian tone of traditional culture in India. It is this struggle that lies at the heart of this story. We were very happy to be able to purchase this film"
Romantic, wonderful, amazing
pen name | 04/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to cover a scene shown towards the very start of the movie so this shouldn't spoil anything but if you don't want to know about it please do not read this paragraph. He says that when he first saw her it was like something out of a dream. I'm happy for him the way he meets her but also jealous. She gives him a little smile as he's gazing at her admiringly and that gives him a positive sign, and additionally she's holding a magazine and reading it while walking. The article she is reading is a flattering article about Alex himself! Now if I had beautiful women walking around reading articles about me I wouldn't have any trouble saying hello either. I guess it could happen if you just happen to have a lot of magazines writing articles with high praise about you (I think they call him a genius writer in the article) but it's not going to be the case for most people. But it still works after all he's a prominent writer I did want to point that it is not the normal situation. It is believable that Alex could travel to India as he's a writer and would have more flexibility in his job than most people. I also like how he never uses any physical violence in the film which is too often the case with a lot of movies. This type of film is very true to real life in a lot of ways in that he needs to work thing out with people. I wish they had shown a lot more interaction between the leads of Alex and Reena because it it's so nice to see them together but they do show enough to make it worth while. Reena is hot and Alex rules as the man who know what he want when he sees it! Yes! Go Alex go! Alex is my hero! If they would have replaced the attention they put on the other couple and had shown more Alex and Reena it would have been better but it is still great as is. It's pure agony they didn't show more scenes between them because the ones they show are great! His subtle looks, smiles and head nods of admiration toward Reena are perfect and mesmorizing and the scenes with them together are electric! But at the same time Alex is level headed throughout everything showing love but ready to back off if she isn't reciprocating. The confrontations with Reena's mother is riveting and true to life. Fantastic. There are other great scenes that are hard to discuss without ruining the fun so check it out. "
Karma, Destiny And Losing Your Mind ~ Following The 7 Steps
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 09/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I guess if you're completely unfamiliar with the Bollywood experience watching 'My Faraway Bride' might be a fairly harmless way to make an acquaintance with one of the most popular, fast growing cinematic industries in the world today. Especially when you consider the fact that the average Indian film is at least twice as long, if not longer than the average American movie. Not only that, but you don't have to read subtitles which is also a big plus.
The two long lovers, Jason Lewis (Alex) and Kashmera Shah (Reena) are more than attractive enough to maintain the interest of both sexual persuasions in the viewing audience even though the storyline is predictable and most of the secondary characters confined to stereo-typical Indian roles.
Definitely not a classic, nor is it a film that's going to draw many new converts to Indian cinema, but it does provide an interesting some interesting shots here and there on the streets of Bombay and how can you not enjoy the music. Now that's Bollywood."
Didn't Love It!
D. Fetta | California | 08/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of "Crossover" Bollywood style productions, I must say that this one didn't deliver. The story begins in California, where the two lovers meet and become close. There is a real connection between the actors, and the audience is allowed to see the building of this love story but when Alex played by Jason Lewis heads to India to follow after his love, the movie lulls in the relationship department. Once there, the two lovers barely get any screen time together, and the movie loses its focus on the young couple. In fact, there is more heat/screen time between the other couple that find each other in the film. For me this movie was somewhat of a disappointment. I guess my expectations were too high!"