Tuesday, 21 April 2015


The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Movie Review

Story: Sunny's hotel needs expansion. Can his guests handle this - while managing Sunny's shaadi?

Review: So, this sequel's far from being second best to 2012's Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It packs in characters, comedies, philosophy, a shaadi - plus Richard Gere, doing a pelvic thrust.

Sunny (Dev Patel) and Mrs. Donnelly (Maggie Smith) make Jaipur's Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, catering to elderly guests, highly successful. As Sunny's shaadi to Sunaina (Tina Desai) approaches, several sub-plots climax, including Madge (wonderfully tart Celia Imrie) confused between her rich Indian lovers and loyal driver, 79-year-old Evelyn (a steady Judi Dench) facing passion, and bratty Kushal (Shahzad Latif) buying the hotel Sunny needs. Then arrives charming Guy Chambers (Richard Gere), whom Sunny's sure is a hotel inspector. Guy falls for Sunny's glam Mummyji Mrs. Kapoor (Lillete Dubey), who seems immune to his charms. Meanwhile, Mrs. Donnelly's growing worryingly fragile. Will bloom?

This is a fun story with as many layers as a Jaipuri pagdi. The acting is such fun - the film features much of the cream from the high tea of British drama - that you appreciate characters, even if you didn't check into the first Hotel. With soft eyes and ironic lines, Maggie Smith commands with ease while bumbling Bill Nighy charms. Dev Patel even sheds some of his character's OTT energy - like when he realises his mother is actually a grown-up. And grows up a bit himself too.

Some sub-plots (scooters and sexcapades) sag, but the story's mostly firm. The music's beautifully layered and the cinematography rich eye-candy, vanilla havelis basking under an orange sun, indigo night skies - and Richard Gere, oozing such silver-haired sexiness, even Sunny exclaims, "He has me questioning my own sexuality!"

Mix that with Mrs Donnelly's, "Just because I'm looking at you when you talk, don't think I'm interested - or even listening." And you get the dry, yet sweet cocktail this story is.

Enjoy Hollywood thumkas at a Bollywood wedding that's not monsoon but autumn - and cooler for it.  


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