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This delightful 2002 musical comedy is about handsome and rich young Rahul (Rahul Khanna), whose mother (Moushumi Chatterjee) and grandmother (Dina Pathak) are not too pleased that his girlfriend is white. But when the girlfriend dies suddenly, his mother sees her chance, and threatens to cancel his sister Twinky's wedding unless Rahul can find a nice Indian girl for himself. Desperate, he hires Sue (Lisa Ray), an escort who tells him she is Spanish but who will pass for Indian. True to the traditions it is named for, this film abounds in cliches: songs, dances, mistaken identities, drag queens, and happily ever after. This is a frothy, fun, and infectious little movie that critics seemed to either love or hate; I thought it was delightful.

Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta made this movie after releasing "Earth" and "Fire", each of which caused riots in India when released for their outspoken political and sexual themes1; the sets for the third film in the series, "Water", were destroyed and Mehta, facing death threats, was forced to abandon the production. Before she began again with "Water", in secret, she made "Bollywood Hollywood", and it's wonderful to see the joy that permeates this film, knowing how bitter and hurt she was by the hatred that the previous films fostered. It's great also to see Toronto, where Mehta has lived for 30 years (and I for ten), appear in this movie as itself, rather than masquerading as an American city. The official website is http://www.bollywoodhollywoodmovie.com/

1Some of the violent reaction to "Fire" was caused by a lesbian relationship in the movie, and apparently Gurinder Chadha took the lesbianism out of Bend It Like Beckham after seeing what Mehta went through. Which is a shame, because she resorted instead to the hackneyed theme of two women competing for a man, and we don't need more movies about that, in my opinion!


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