Written and Directed by
Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK
Running Time: 1:54
Flavors follows in the footsteps of a long line of recent low budget Indian-American films, with one small difference: this one was pretty good.
There are a number of concurrent storylines in Flavors, all of which have some connection to each other, but no major overlapping. In one story, Kartik and Rachna are best friends, who have a long distance phone relationship. Kartik makes it pretty clear he wants more, but Rachna isn't sure what she wants. In story two, Sangita and Nikhil are married. He has a job that takes him away from the house a lot, and she's bored out of her mind, wanting to go back to India. Even when he loses his job, Nikhil still pretends to go to work, because of the shame he feels. In story three, Vivek, Ashok and Jas all live with Candy. The house is paid for by Candy's company, but she lets different people live there to help them out. With Vivek being downsized, all three guys are jobless and trying to find work. Vivek is also in love with a girl from his past, but doesn't have the courage to get past her father on the phone. And in story four, Rad's parents come to stay with him in preparation for his impending marriage to a white girl named Jenni. Trying to find a balance between India and American is hard for all four, but they somehow manage to work everything out.
I really enjoyed Flavors. Whether it was because I related to the characters, or I feel an affinity for Indian-American films, or because it was just a well written and well acted film, there was something about the movie that I admired. Make no mistake, this is a low budget film, and it has the look of a low budget film. But once you get past that, you're left with a solid film, with a good story and fun and interesting characters. Let's start with the story lines. Each one of them had its own charms. I personally felt connected to the Kartik and Rachna story line. Two friends who have feelings for each other but aren't sure what happens next. Both actors did a good job of toeing the line between friends and more than friends, and you felt a genuine connection between the two. With Sangita and Nikhil, I could understand her boredom at home. She has just come from India, newly married, and her husband is never around. It takes some time to adjust to a new life and it was interesting watching her in her daily routine. 4pm, put down the book, turn on the TV, take a couple glances outside, then curl up on the couch and watch an Indian soap opera. But the best part was when a friend of hers came over, and even with the prospect of being able to leave the house and do something, her first reaction was to stick to her routine. I thought her character was wonderfully portrayed.
The three guys living with Candy was a little off, because I wondered what kind of girl would let three strange men move in with her, but the guys, especially Vivek, were so compelling, it was fun. Poor Vivek. What guys hasn't pined for a girl that he barely knew? OK, maybe it's just me, but I thought his character was true to life. He has no idea how to deal with women, so the second one looks at him, he thinks he's in love. It was so sad sometimes watching him, but at the same time, you couldn't feel sorry for him because he was such a sad sack. Then there's the Indian/American wedding. The parents were the main characters in this story line, and they were arguably the best characters in the film. You could see how much they loved their son, and wanted him to be happy, but they didn't fully understand why he would marry a white girl. But they were so accepting of her and everything else they were a joy to watch. And the relationship between the parents was a lot of fun as well. Older Indian couples never really show love towards each other, but just from small actions, you could see the respect and admiration they had for each other.
As much as I enjoyed each story line, I did feel that having to go back and forth between four separate stories made the movie go on a bit too long. Yes, they all connected at one point or another, but I felt maybe one of the story lines could have been taken out so that the movie could have been a little shorter, and the film could have focused in more on the stories that were left. There were times when one story would disappear for a long time, and when it came back you had to quickly try and remember where it had left off before. That being said, if you asked me which story line to take away, I'm not sure I could give you an answer. Each had it's own quirky charm to it. While the movie did touch on serious subject, like a mixed marriage, or the plight of a woman coming to the U.S. for the first time, it approached it in a lighthearted and humorous way. There were no real laugh out loud moments, but the movie as a whole was funny and moving at the same time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed Flavors. The characters were well rounded and well thought out, the acting was very good and the story lines were all strong. My only small complaint was that having to juggle four distinct stories made the movie a bit too long, and it lost the chance to really focus in on the remaining story lines. But in the end, it was a very entertaining movie.