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.