Un + Une: a French romcom in India
During my recent stay in France I was taken to see a movie on... guess what... India! It's crazy you know, it’s like when I’m taken to eat Indian food... Like I am in France for a few days and I am so addicted to curry that I can no longer sustain without! But in fact it is something completely different I think. It just makes my friend happy to share a piece of India with me in memory of all the pieces of India we shared together in India. So I eat with pleasure my naans without butter (this scene in an Indian restaurant run by Sri Lankans in Paris, when I once asked for a butter naan and they did not have it. Cheese naan yes but no butter naan (that’s a true example of that thing called adaptation, since they are in France !). Bah you take a naan and you put butter on it!).
So I went to the theater. And there, nice surprise! It was a film not on India but in India. It was first and foremost a love story (and I like love stories) which takes place in the country of sadhus and gurus, the film focusing on these two “aspects” of Indian spirituality (offering a lot of images of the Kumbh mela (the gathering of millions of sadhus) and Amma Cuddles (a guru from Kerala who changes people’s lives by embracing them)). Is it cliché? I would ask “how can one show India in a one and half hour movie without clichés?”
Anyway, for me, it is rather the version of a foreigner in search of spirituality in India and the film makes you discover what he/she would be given to discover in real life (and not really more than that, except if he/she goes on a real and long quest). No, really, I found the description of these phenomena quite right and the images very beautiful.
I did not understand the confusion between Delhi and Mumbai, the film leading you to believe that the scenes shot in the capital were taking place in Mumbai, and found a little bizarre to put plans of Udaipur during the trip to Kerala. But these are details!
To sum up, this movie kind of made me want to go back to India! (desire which usually decreases as the days pass in France ;-)).
And on poverty, which remains the ultimate “cliché”, it is shown only once, with poor people standing at a junction – and there are poor people standing at junctions – and I found the dialogue interesting. It gives something like this:
- The foreigner: and these guys, life, how do they take it?
- The Indian guy: Oh well you know for them there are several lives. This life is a draft, they are learning for the next one.
(Some might say it is a bit of a light, easy comment - at least in a movie made by a non-Indian guy - but at least no one can say that the movie focuses on misery.)