Simplistic treatment of routine tale
AMATEURISH ATTEMPT: Aalok Mehta just about passes muster.
American Chai (ENGLISH)
Cast: Aalok Mehta, Paresh Rawal
Dir: Anurag Mehta
AH! HERE COMES another one of the crossover films with NRI professionals at the helm of affairs. One sip of American Chai and you wish this one had not crossed shores! This is an amateurish attempt at filmmaking, one that needs to be applauded for the attempt but condemned for the lopsided result of the effort.
On the surface it is a simple tale of yes, yet another band of musicians, trying to reach the top. Only problem with this predominantly Indian band in America is the guy at the top. His Indian parents sent him out to be a doctor. However, instead of wielding stethoscope and scalpel, he takes to the microphone and music. The parents huff and puff, the boy only puffs. Occasionally, he drinks.
Some time, just sometimes, he dances. And, yes, he dates a lovely little girl whose eyes wear an expression of constant wonderment. The medico-turned-musician just has to make it. No argument. And he does! Well, as viewers no argument with that too.
Where one does argue with director Anurag Mehta is, he makes things too simple! Wish life were that simple too! His handling of a routine story is simplistic and expects you to nurture a high quotient of gullibility.
He is also impaired by a cast where fraternal affections seem to overpower reason. His brother, Aalok, as the hero, is just about passable. His accent is suitably American. And he uses the lingo peculiar to a section where a sentence without a four letter word is a like a child without a father. That is all acting seems to be for him. His cohorts are no more than the guys who lurk in the shadows in an average Bollywood film. But he does have Paresh Rawal, as a Gujarati father at ease with his past, all at sea with his son's decision to carve out his own career. Unfortunately, his is a small role, one that only serves to tell us what we missed.
Yes, American Chai is no top brew. Take a sip in the knowledge that the fare on offer is neither `steamy', nor `hot'. Not even fresh or sweet. It is like tea on the table for too long. Consume it only if you must.
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