I was really excited about going to see It's A Wonderful Afterlifebecause Gurinder Chadha is the director and she has directed two of myfavourite films - Angues, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and also Brideand Prejudice. I had also seen plenty of the film on TV and it lookedlike a fun film - I was right! The film is set in London but is allabout Indians. It's a really weird storyline but that's what made it sofunny and unique. Basically, an old woman called Mrs Sethi (ShabanaAzmi) wants to commit suicide because she is a widow but she won't doit until her daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay) is married. Anyone who getsin her way gets killed in lots of funny and gruesome ways. Right at thestart of the film, she stuffs a man so much by feeding him curry thathe explodes and therefore prompting curry to fly about everywhere. Itold you it was weird! The murder brings the police in to things andthe officer assigned to the case is called Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy).He happens to be a close friend of Mrs Sethi and her daughter. Alsoinvolved is Linda, renamed Galani (Sally Hawkins), who wears Indianclothes, has an Indian fianc?e (Jimi Mistry) and insists that she ispsychic.
It is a set-up for lots of funny things to happen. There are quite alot of fat jokes which get old after a while and also a lot ofslapstick that sometimes is really hilarious and sometimes isn't. Thereare also lots of people slipping over on curry which is so silly it'sreally quite funny. The ending is especially hilarious but I won'tspoil it for you! The script overall is really funny and original.There is a happy ending with a wedding as in a lot of Gurinder Chadha'sfilms but the way it gets to the end is really original. All of thecast are really good as well and deliver their lines perfectly,especially Shabana Azmi who is really super. The film also looks reallygood but the cheap gore and exploding curry looks a bit out of place.
In many ways this is a typical romance film with some really funnymoments. However, there are plenty of unique ideas in here and somegreat humorous moments that will make it worth seeing, especially ifyou like the director's other films.
It might be a Wonderful Afterlife but it was even better when the movieended. The story was basic and average and it didn't really hit youfrom the start. Sure the movie started off all good and well but whenthe spirits appeared, there were one or two funny scenes but it startedbecoming boring after a while and before you knew it, it started todrag on for too long. The characters weren't really well written andyou just simply didn't care what happened to them. The acting wasn'tgood either as the actors could have done a little better in playing astheir characters, although the actors who played the spirits wereamusing from time to time. The writing is hit-and-miss because eventhough there were some okay scenes in the movie, sometimes it coulddrag on for too long. The directing isn't really bad and the scriptwasn't either but the movie just felt too rushed and unnecessary. Therewere quite a few scenes you could have taken out and you wouldn't havemissed anything from the story.
It was good for the first half an hour however, slowly but surely, itstarted to become tedious and boring. The acting wasn't bad but I haveseen miles better from some of the cast such as Sendhil Ramamurthy, whoplays Mohinder in Heroes. However, Sally Hawkins was great as Linda andshe really lit up the movie. The movie's humour felt like it was tryingto force itself to be funny too many times and, I admit, there weretimes when I laughed a little at the movie but there were some scenesthat felt way too forced when it came to the humour department. Therewas one scene that just felt totally thrown in and random, I can't saymuch without spoiling the movie but you'll know what I mean if youdecide to watch the movie, the scene involves Sally Hawkins. I was alsodisappointed with the fact that Preeya Kalidas, better known as Amirain Eastenders, was only in the movie for ten seconds. They should haveused her more in the movie, as she is a great actress. Overall, if youwant a movie that's hysterical, don't choose this one but if you want acomedy that is mildly entertaining, doesn't take itself seriously andwill kill time, then this is perfect.
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While I understand the Indian masala films usually involve havingeverything including the kitchen sink thrown into the plot, which willhave enough room for the story to combine romance, mystery, drama,comedy, song and dance all together for possibly something for everyoneto enjoy, It's a Wonderful Afterlife somehow had all these ingredientscoming together, but felt a little too contrived at mixing everythingup and gelling them all nicely, especially since it had a trailerthat's not quite accurate, and it seemed more like a typical 3 hourfilm rather than its 100 minute duration.
Gurinder Chadha's more famous for her directorial breakthrough Bend ItLike Beckham, which arguably introduced Kieira Knightley to the world,and here she combines an ensemble with the likes of Jimi Mistry, SallyHawkins and the Indian actors Sanjeev Bhaskar, Shaheen Khan, Adlyn Rossand Ash Varrez in a film that started like an investigative drama witha potential serial killer on the loose in the Southall district ofLondon, the policeman D S Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who had beentransferred in for investigative work in his own community to sniff outdetails of the suspects, Roopi (Goldy Notay) and her mother Mrs Sethi(Shabana Azmi) who is desperate for the former to get married with muchof her rejection based on her plumpish looks, Roopi's best friend Linda(Hawkins) who finds her inner Indian self and is somewhat of aself-taught spiritual guru, and the list goes on.
At best, the plot and its subplots were extremely scattered, andsomehow it seemed that Chadha didn't manage to find common ground forall of them to coexist, with each plot line threatening to upstage anddistract one from others. Prime to everything hinged on Mrs Sethi'srather protective quest to look for a potential husband for herdaughter Roopi, and how the former's dealing with rejection led to aneventual five spirits tagging along with her, who through her guiltyconscious is the only one able to see them all. The cat is let out ofthe bag early, and it's somehow not so much of a mystery other than azany comedy to have these friendly ghouls make jokes at everyopportunity.
The romantic leads of Sendhil Ramamurthy and Goldy Notay also lackedbelievable chemistry though the rushed romance didn't help their causesince the detective also had to juggle an ulterior motive, while thatbetween Jimy Mistry and Sally Hawkins went down the road to explore howsome people groove to the beat of other cultures since they're not athome with their own. Sally Hawkins though had a single major scenewhich mimicked a horror film where a woman scorned unleashes hell onearth during her own party, probably a comedic highlight of the filmthat defied all logic and pushed the film toward absurdity.
I had enjoyed Gurinder Chadha's works such as Bride and Prejudice, andAngus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, but somehow this entry into herfilmography seemed like a step back. Let's how she finds her grooveback pretty soon with a stronger and more coherent story rather thanleaving things scattered around.
Let me start with the end, which is the end credits Stayin Alive withPunjabi Remixed and the bloopers in the movie that are running with it.Its like two best worlds coming together!! Only Bally Sagoo could havepulled this off!! I really like Gurinder Chaddha movies since Bend Itlike Beckham, the whole Punjabi touch to the movie that she gets, thewedding season and the all the food that comes with it which is likewhat Punjabis die for (or work for). In this movie, you had all theelements put in place, you have good music, wedding, punjabi style thewhole NRI culture based out of London. The other added elements thatmake it a dark comedy, but surely not scary.
Overall with all the elements are placed the only thing is it NOT atypical romance film with some really funny moments.
First of all let's talk about the inspiration angle behind the title ofthe movie, "Its A Wonderful Afterlife". Gurinder Chadha undoubtedlythought of this name to take advantage of the huge popularity of an OldEnglish Classic called "Its A Wonderful Life" featuring James Stewart.The Black & White gem released in 1946 is considered to be one of Top100 movies of All Time directed by the renowned director, FrankCapra.Incidentally the story of this Capra gem also revolves around aperson who becomes a spirit after his death and then meets an angel,who shows him how people loved him while he was living and now how theyall are missing him after his death.
Taking hints from the title and the film, it seems Gurinder got an ideato write a script, revolving around some spirits and a concerned motherworried about the marriage of her overage obese daughter. As amandatory clause, the mother had to be from a punjabi family in orderto incorporate all the other essential north Indian elements into thescreenplay, as required to justify the famous Gurinder Chaddhatrademark. Now till here, everything seems nice and cool since the maintheme of the movie sounds interesting having much scope of includingall those emotions, comedy and drama, mixed with bhangra beats playingat the background. But after watching the whole movie, you are justleft with only one expression on the face, which goes like "What isthis?" . Is this really a Gurinder Chaddha movie, who gave us "BhajiOn the Beach"and "Bend It Like Beckham"? or She has just made thisproject to show some losses in her current balance sheet.
Strictly speaking, after her below average "Bride & Prejudice" whichwas a big disaster, this is another completely unexpected, silly andawful dud delivered by the director, who once had a good name in bothparts of the world due to her highly entertaining and successful films.The movie is a big letdown, right from the word go, when you are madeto witness some highly absurd sequences displaying few serial murdershappening in England. The murders are illogically related with eatingIndian food and the manner in which the people die is definitely nothilarious from any angle. What's more irritating is that all thesemurdered people become spirits in the exact condition as they were intheir last moments. So we have 5 highly annoying ghosts walking withShabana Azmi throughout the movie, which never seem to be comical inany way. Further as a disgusting torture, one of the five ghosts evenhas an open stomach with all the intestines and internal stuff fallingout of it every time he walks. Just imagine! Now talking about my firsthand experience in the theater, quite understandably, most of thefellow audiences were not able to suffer it anymore and they walked outof the hall even before the interval saying nasty things about themovie. Still few of us remained seated may be due to the reputed brandname of Gurinder Chaddha. But the director never bounced back. Moreoverthe second half even came with another strange and irrational sequencedepicting some sort of cult powers possessed by a soon to be marriedgirl. This particular part was undeniably one of the most disastrousand weirdest thought put in by a director ever.
So, as all the expectations from the movie were being shattered badlyleft and right, I was just sitting on my seat in a lazy posture,thinking about, why Shabana Azmi had to be there in this terribleproject and what she may have imagined while signing the movie, afterreading the final draft of the script.
Returning to the review, due to my dreadful experience with the film, Ifrankly don't wish to write anything more about its direction,performances, script, music or cinematography. But I really want torequest Shabana Azmi, to please don't waste your precious efforts andvaluable time in such intolerable projects. The movie simply doesn'tdeserve to be there in your resume at all as it's a big black spot onthe name of another masterpiece with a similar title.
May be it's a clear example of a creative block being faced by thedirector and may she return back with a bang soon. But as far as her"It's a Wonderful AfterLife" is concerned, it's one of the worst moviesI have ever seen.
Let face it Gurinder Chadha struck bingo with "Bend it like Beckham"and it was nothing but sheer luck. And came "Bride & Predujice" and thetrue colours surfaced. When you watch "It's A Wonderful Afterlife" youcan be certain to demand refund for your ticket. Its an insult to myfavourite feel-good Christmas movie "It's A Wonder Life" (can I demanda change of title as well?). Needless to say predictably pathetic,killing with Chiken Tikka? OMG! Its heights of brain-storming goneamok!
Shabana Azmi:: Its sad to see a powerhouse of talent being wasted.
Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sanjiv Bhaskar & Zoe Wanamaker were just OK.
The cinematic liberties under the garb of Bollywood type of cinemashould be completely stopped.
One of the funniest movies in a while! The director gets the wholeIndians abroad thing to absolute perfection. One felt like one had meteveryone on screen before! All the actors except Shabhana Azmi werereally good. OK...the actor who plays her daughter wasn't brillianteither but at least she wasn't full of herself. The plot itself wasrather cute and the editing is very well done. Only issue with it isthat the target audience is rather limited. You need to either be anIndian living abroad or know enough Indians living abroad to get mostof the jokes. The whole thing is not to be taken seriously for even amoment of course!
This one gives Bend it like Beckham a serious run for its money.
Granted the expectations were high because of Shabana Azmi but thenagain, what can one expect from Gurinder Chaddha. With the exception ofher segment in 'Paris, Je T'Aime', I haven't been impressed by any ofher work. That said, 'It's a Wonderful Afterlife' isn't that bad. Iprefer it over the boring 'Bride and Brejudice'.
The minus points are that Chaddha relies on too many Indian Britishclich?s which have been done to death in many other films. I thoughtAzmi would have more screen time but was disappointed in that respect.The title is misleading. The story had so much potential but Chaddhamesses it up. I didn't find the sequences with the ghosts to beamusing.
Now the plus is that most of the jokes work. I was laughing out loudespecially at the sequences with Sally Hawkins. The 'Carrie' homage,though out of place, had me laughing out loud. I thought Shabana Azmiwas great with what she was given. she's mostly let down by the poorscript. Goldy Notay is quite likable. Sendhil Ramamurthy is limited toplaying the typical love interest. Zoe Wanamaker is wasted. SallyHawkins is a scene stealer.
Overall, I didn't mind 'It's a Wonderful Afterlife' for aone-time-watch. It made me laugh even though it could have easily beena much better movie.
This film was more slapstick than horror, but it also had charm. Idon't believe this film was meant to be a serious comment on theBritish Asian way of life, just a wry look at the lengths this motherwould go to in order to secure a husband for her daughter. Thecharacters were engaging, making me want to know what was going tohappen to them all, and I never yawned once, which is a good barometerof an entertaining film in my opinion. Some scenes had me wanting tojump up and join in, while another was an obvious homage to a 70'shorror movie, but with an amusing twist. If you want cerebral,don'tbother, but if you want to have a laugh, go for it.User: charnss
I cannot believe that I have just come back from watching this film atthe cinema, and the best thing about going was watching the filmtrailers before the actual film started. This is categorised as a"comedy horror"....it wasn't funny, and it would not scare my 5 yearold nephew. The scary part was how bad the acting was and thestoryline. The film concept did not work and it felt like a lot of theattempted jokes were too forced. The director attempted to make a filmthat would appeal to everyone but ended up as a huge disaster and didnot have the fundamentals of being a good film. The director has madeother hit films such as Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Predajiceand they were much more entertaining to watch. It was very surprisedthat such a highly rated directer managed to make such a mess of thisfilm and I cannot think of one memorable part of the film that wouldencourage me to recommend it to others.