Written by Benny Mathews, Soham Mehta,
Running Time: 1:50
as Mo (Mohan Bakshi)
Where's the Party Yaar? is another in a long line of NRI films that have come out in the last few years. While not up to the standards of the bigger releases, the movie does touch upon a lot of issues and when it's funny, it's very funny, but when it tries to be serious, it falls flat.
Hari leaves India for America and lives with the family of a friend of his father's. Their eldest son, Mohan, is the cool kid on campus and is asked to show Hari around and teach him a few things about life in America. Of course, Mohan is looking out for himself and doesn't want his FOB 'cousin' hanging around but since his father still pays his bills, he does so grudgingly. Before he left India, Hari was told that he would meet a girl in the U.S. but before doing so, a lot of things would have to happen. He thinks all of them have occurred when he meets Priya and sets out to try and woo her. Meanwhile, Mohan has his own love interest, but things take a turn for the worse and he has to try and win her back. The differences between the two boys come to a head over a Desi Fever party run by one of Mohan's friends and in the end, Hari ends up teaching Mohan some lessons of his own.
A lot of films in the past few years have dealt with the Indian experience outside of India. Bend it Like Beckham being the most famous, but a lot of smaller films also have touched on the subject. Where's the Party Yaar? uses comedy to highlight the struggle immigrants have coming to America and when the movie sticks to the laughs, it succeeds, but when it tries to be serious, it feels empty. The one thing I noticed was the lack of a score. There were a lot of songs that played throughout, but in a lot of sequences, all you heard in the background was the sound of pants as people moved. A film score can help you set the mood for a scene, and when a scene is trying to be serious and there is nothing happening in the background, it makes the scene feel flat. There's one scene towards the end where the party promoter finally gets him comeuppance and while it was supposed to be a big, meaningful scene, the lack of score made it feel like nothing had happened.
The acting in the film, especially that of the leads, was pretty good. Kal Penn is starting to become the go-to young Indian actor with his role in Van Wilder from last year, the upcoming feature Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and his TV series with Anthony Anderson starting this fall. He definitely has a solid comedic touch, although when he tries to be serious, you can almost feel him wanting to break into a funny accent to break the mood. Sunil Malhotra may have played the FOB role a little too stupidly, but when it came time to take the role seriously, he did extremely well. The older generation of actors in the film felt amateurish, but the younger generation did a very good job of making this film lighthearted and fun.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, Where's the Party Yaar? won't win any awards, but if you've ever been in a strange land, you'll be able to understand what the characters are going through and appreciate the film for what it is.
Bend It Like Beckham
© 2003 Wolfpack Productions