It’s A Wonderful Afterlife

4Gurinder Chaddha who gave us the wonderful Bend It Like Beckham (2002) seems to have got it all wrong this time. Well at least where humour is concerned. Designed as a black comedy, her latest release It’s Wonderful Afterlife fails to evoke neither any laughter nor any emotions.

The film is about the widowed Mrs Sethi (Azmi) who is worried that her slightly overweight daughter Roopi (Notay) will never find a husband.

Every match Mrs Sethi arranges turns Roopi down, which leads Mrs Sethi to react murderously. She ends up killing them with Indian food. Smothered with naan, fed curry until a stomach explodes, hit with a rolling pin, stabbed with a kebab stick, these four ghosts (Shaheen Khan, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Adlyn Ross and Ash Varrez) come back to Mrs. Sethi to haunt her until she’s ready to die.

Now because she won’t die until her daughter Roopi gets married, she and the ghosts set out on a matchmaking expedition. Fortunately, Roopi’s childhood friend Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is back in town and hugely eligible.

But unfortunately, he’s a detective looking for the ‘Curry killer’. Problems further arise when Roopi’s best friend Linda (Sally Hawkins) comes back in town with a sudden fiance (Jimi Mistri) after a mind-opening stint in an ashram. What it all leads to forms the rest of the plot.

The premise of the film is such that it doesn’t demand to be taken seriously. But with absurdities galore, the film fails to work.

The one liners fall flat and this takes the graph of the film further down. You are expected to laugh at a guy getting killed with his tummy exploding after having being fed too much curry.

Also the problem with the film is it tries to pack in too many things at once with relentless speed. The completely over the top climax is a mega downer as well.

Where it works is in the acting department. With Shabana Azmi (who has specially put on weight for her role) leading the pack followed by Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Sendhil Ramamurthy of Heroes TV series fame has screen presence. Goldy Notay is cute. Sally Hawkins is hilarious in the take off on the famous prom scene from Carrie.

Watch this one if you literally have nothing else to do and are a big Gurinder Chaddha fan or else stay cleer!

2/5 Stars

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