【明報專訊】Marketed as Hong Kong's first Bollywood movie, My Indian Boyfriend (《我的印度男友》) boasts a colourful, diverse cast and uplifting music and dance — all very rare in mainstream Hong Kong films. Local audiences will be heartwarmed by the familiar face of Qbobo (喬寶寶), who first rose to popularity about 15 years ago and has since become a household name. The film stars Hong Kong-born actor Karan Cholia (成家宏) as the protagonist, giving the audience another chance to encounter ethnic minorities with a local upbringing. It is the first major film that deals with cross-cultural romance in our society. Naturally, there were enough reasons to be excited.
Major flaws in the script, however, are likely to leave the audience disgruntled, or perhaps embarrassed. At times, the melodrama borders on bad jokes that force a chuckle. If you can humour such technical issues, the movie may still be mildly amusing and refreshing to watch.
The tacky love story revolves between Krishna, the middle son of an Indian immigrant family, and his beautiful neighbour Jasmine. The pair starts off knee-deep in (忙於應付) their own set of problems. Despite his fluency in Cantonese, Krishna is disoriented in Hong Kong society and bemoans a lack of opportunities. He slacks his days away with his buddy, Kong, drinking, gambling and fighting — an obvious failure compared to his more motivated siblings. Jasmine, having lost her father, is in a reluctant relationship with Richard, a resentful man who has provided financial aid for her family.
While the movie has every potential to develop into a credible, moving romantic account between two cultures, its lack of nuance renders it hard to resonate with. Little was done to substantiate the circumstances of an Indian migrant family, aside from assigning sporadic Hindi lines to the characters. As a result, Krishna's initial struggles and over-the-top behaviour felt arbitrary. His extravagant love monologues would probably invite more raised eyebrows than empathy. I share Jasmine's response in the movie — this is utterly embarrassing!
As the film develops, Krishna becomes more likable, and the relationship looks fun. But this is soon saturated with extended close-up shots of the protagonists. I get their beauty, but let's give it a break, shall we?
I walked out of the cinema thinking: Why did Indian immigrants come to Hong Kong? Is Krishna's initial difficulty socially driven? How is dating usually conducted in the Indian culture? I wish these were explored further. Such exploration doesn't have to sabotage the musical festivity. It just helps to anchor the joy.
Mona C. has a strong appetite for stories. Feed her enough.