I’ve written a good bit on my own travels to India, and many readers expressed quite a bit of interest over the years. No matter what words you use, however, I’ve always regretted that it’s impossible to convey what India is without being able to share the sounds, the colors, the chaos–the wonder–that India is. Hubby and I recently attended a pre-viewing of a wonderful movie that can change that a little, and I want to share it with my readers here. We’re members of a preview audience of movie lovers who are invited to pre-view current movies for free a few days or weeks before their opening dates. It costs us nothing but a few hours of our time plus whatever gas the car uses to get to the theater. All we have to do is give electronic feedback afterwards. It’s a pretty good deal, and out of the nearly dozen movies we’ve pre-viewed I’ve only seen one bomb, at least for my mature age group, and that was American Reunion. There is more to life, after all, than horny sex and bathroom pranks.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened in England the end of February. On May 4 it will open in movie theaters around the United States. An assorted group of English pensioners facing uncertain economic circumstances in their retirement (portrayed by an admirable lineup of mature actors: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup), are enticed by advertisements for THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, a seemingly luxurious sanctuary for “the elderly and beautiful” in Jaipur, India. Their retirement takes an unconventional turn when, upon arrival, they discover that the hotel falls somewhat short of the romantic idyll promised in the brochure. Most are gradually won over by the ever-optimistic young manager Sonny (Dev Patel from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE), who has troubles of his own. They tentatively embark on this new adventure, and most find that life can begin again when you let go of the past. The cinematography beautifully conveys the culture shock any westerner will probably feel in any (so-called) third-world country they encounter for the first time. You’ll also vicariously experience the chaotic sights and sound and color–just about everything but the smells (good or bad), and even those are easier to imagine (!) afterwards then anything I’ve ever been able to share through my writing.
So if you or your friends have ever entertained the idea of visiting India yourself someday, or even if you know you’ll never be able to afford that kind of adventure in real life or even desire it, I urge you to go in reel life by seeing this movie. If you watched the trailer above, you may have picked up on a couple of lines that sum up pretty well my feelings about India. The first is from Sonny, the manager, as he’s fond of saying throughout, “Everything will be all right at the end,” implying that if things aren’t all right yet, then it isn’t the end yet. The other memorable line is by Judy Dench. “India is about what you bring to it.” Those two lines express very well my feelings about India. It grows on you, just like the characters is this movie. And I believe that’s what you’ll take away if you see this movie.
Wow. The cast alone would make this movie worth seeing. Thanks for the recommendation. We seem to have similar taste in movies (remember “Winter’s Bone”?).
Indeed I do remember Winter’s Bone, and I believe we both read the book first. I noticed our similar in movies tastes around that time too. What I loved about this movie was that I felt I’d been in India for a couple of hours without having to endure a long flight, long lines in security and customs, and without all the expense involved in real travel. Plus I slept in my own bed that night!
Judy Dench? Dev Patel? Two excellent reasons to love it already!!!!
Can I get it at Netflix?
Never mind — I’ll check!!!!
I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to see on Netflix–eventually–but it might take awhile. What I always do is go to Netflix and request it even if it isn’t available now, then when it comes out on DVD I’m one of the first in the queue for it.
Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup – seven great reasons to go see the movie! I saw it when I was in Dublin last month. It was wonderful and I laughed my way through it. That clip make me want to see it all over again.
Yes, when I said it opened in England in late February, I should have said Great Britain. I’m glad you’ve stopped by to verify my claim. I’d see it again, too–maybe when it’s available on Netflix.
Hmmm, wonder if it will show up in our small town? I would drive elsewhere to see it. Thanks!
I hope it comes close enough to you, Colleen. I’d hate it if you drove a long way and then for some reason didn’t like it. How small is your little town anyway?
I look forward to seeing it, assuming it gets to Pittsburgh. Thanks for the recommendation.
I’m pretty sure it’ll get to Pittsburgh. I recall there’s also a fairly large Indian community in Pittsburgh as well. You’ll need to take a movie break, too, as that’s about the time you’ll be making that big move to your new abode. A couple of hours in India will by a good break from all those boxes to unpack.
Hope this movie releases in theatres in India, else I will have to wait till we get it on DVD or is relayed on satellite TV. Theatrical releases in India are usually the the top 10 at US box office because that is what the young generation wants to see.
The problem with hotels world over is they hardly turn out to be what they look like on their website. In India particularly, the “star rating” – usually self certified, is the most misleading. I base my decision on the tariff. Higher the tariff, better the chances of getting a clean loo. 🙂
I remember that years back we stayed in some pretty awful places on the rare occasions we had to rent a bed for overnight. 😮 I’m not too fussy except I expect clean linens and even that didn’t seem possible much of the days in those places. Our 2011 trip was superior since–due to the younger generation of our time (who are now the current ones)–helped in planning where to stay–I think the best by far was the winery digs. I hope you can see the movie on the widescreen–I think it would lose a little on a smaller tv screen. But of course YOU already know how it feels to ride through crowded streets in an autorickshaw or vespa. (Btw, our next trip (Italy in September) we’ll be spending three days seeing Rome from the back of a Vespa, with cooking lessons at a private home–can’t wait.)
Thank you. I heard about this and now I will go see it. Thank you so much. G says he willingly will return to India but not Pakistan. 🙂
I can certainly understand that sentiment, G! I’ve only been in Pakistan once–the airport–and it was under such heavy guard (during the turmoil of the mid-80s) that I was glad NOT to get off the plane.
Looks like a wonderful movie! I will watch for it to open here in SLC.
Cathy, it’s very nice to find your comment waiting, and I hope you enjoy the movie as much as P and I did. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t open here, in fact I suspect SLC may one of the target cities.
Thanks for the recommendation – that looks like a movie I want to see AND a DVD I want to buy! Love the cast – all my Brit favs – and the trailer was a perfect enticer!