Maybe there’s been too much Mike Leigh viewing recently but there must be something distinctly drab and grey about British film and TV that, when trying to recall examples of films in a contemporary setting, the only ones that come to mind are those that have dark and mundane urban settings or imperfect and almost tragic protagonists.
Of course you contrast this with the Bollywood tradition where things seem exotic and colourful – where there are no moral ambiguities and situations or individuals are just so much larger than life, the combination of the two traditions suggests something that would be quite distinct.
What we get is Bollywood Queen – something that pays lip service to the two traditions and evokes the musicals of Hollywood. The plot and style just scream West Side Story (duh – without the ballet) and shades of Grease. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course as they they are Western benchmarks for the musical romance and there are nods to all kinds of sources that it’s pretty near impossible to not get that slight sense of deja vu yet still have those warm fuzzies associated with that familiarity evoked in the experience.
No stereotypes are broken when urban London is presented as a droll, drab location (though life does exist when there is romancing to be done). Even when the scene changes to the countryside, the uniformity of pastoral setting seems dull until a little of the expected Bollywood colour is added to the scenery. This IS a love story (and a Bollywood influenced one at that) so the connotations are pretty obvious such that when the cheesiness of some of the scenes do come, it’s less a surprise and more of a given.
Bollywood Queen is decent night out with friends that is not a particularly filling brain meal but a light snack for the soul.