Written by Andrea Gibb
Directed by Pratibha Parmar
Running Time: 1:34
for for some sexual content.
Nina's Heavenly Delights was a sweet film with a winning cast and some good looking food.
A few years earlier, Nina fled her hometown after standing up her fiancé on their wedding day. But when her father passes away, Nina returns to the life she left behind. She finds that her father's pride and joy, The New Taj restaurant, is on the verge of being sold to a competitor. But unbeknownst to everyone, her father had entered the New Taj into The Best of the West Curry Competition and had been chosen for the final four. Remembering the good times she had with her father in the kitchen, Nina decides to continue with the competition and try and save the restaurant. With new partner Lisa, the two of them make magic happen in more than one way.
Nina's Heavenly Delights wasn't the most original film ever made. The idea of two people falling in love while cooking is something that has been done before. Having a woman come back to a life she left behind and dealing with the aftermath isn't something new. And even having the two people falling in love both be women isn't something new. What was new to me was that the movie took place in Scotland and the love story was between an Indian woman and a white woman. It's always fun for me to hear Indians with different accents. I never really thought about there being Indians in Scotland but you have to imagine, with so many of us, we're bound to turn up in all sorts of places.
Best I can tell, this was director Pratibha Parmar's first full length feature film. She's done a lot of documentaries and short films, and I think that helped with this movie. A lot of first time directors tend to overdirect films. There are too many long scenes that don't move the story along or too many edits because it looks cool. Parmar on the other hand has put together a film that moves along at a good pace without too many extraneous elements to distract us from the story. Yes, there are characters whose stories come and go quickly for no apparent reason (Nina's brother for one) but the main story line remains in focus. Parmar also has a good eye for visuals as every scene felt very warm and inviting. And the cooking scenes made me want to rush out and pick up some curry for myself.
The other thing that set this movie apart is that the acting is very strong. Lead actress Shelley Conn has a very winning personality that makes you root for her to succeed. I felt like she was chosen for the role because she can actually act, and not because she was friends with someone in the production. The rest of the cast was able to keep pace with her, especially Ronny Jhutti as her best friend Bobbi. He was a complete scene stealer every time he appeared, but also knew how to step back when it was time for the Nina/Lisa story to take center stage. And it was that story line that was the important factor in this film, and the thing I appreciate the most was that it wasn't overdone. There were no cheesy monologues about the importance of accepting lesbians. There were no love scenes thrown in to titillate the audience. Instead there were just two people who slowly started to fall in love with each other, and the fact they were both woman was secondary. Yes, they knew there were questions that would need to be answered, but it never overshadowed the love story.
The only real downside for the film was that it wasn't very original. While it was all done well, everything had been seen somewhere else before. Some of the story elements didn't add up to much, and the ending of the movie with the cooking competition felt very forced. It was as if after making a very solid movie, Parmar felt the need to throw in a good old fashioned Hollywood happy ending to tie everything together, and I felt like that was kind of a let down.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed Nina's Heavenly Delights. While it wasn't the most original film ever, the cast and direction kept me interested throughout. And if you're not hungry after watching this movie, I'm not quite sure what's wrong with you.
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