Anita And Me

Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Max Beesley, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Anna Brewster, Kathy Burke
Director: Metin Huseyin

So, another Brit movie that seems to want to ride on the coat tails of the successful EAST IS EAST and MONSOON WEDDING.

It starts off like a poor man’s BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, but builds into a warm and affectionate voyeuristic home movie about an Indian family’s attitudes, and those of others, as they try to make a home in Britain.

The story is simple but effectively done, using the young girl of the piece as the narrator. The screenplay was obviously sharp enough that the director thought it could make an effective ‘narrative bridge’ between scenes. They were right. The funniest things/scenes are spoken as opposed to visual. It is obvious that Meera Syal, who co-produced the piece, thought that translating her favourite parts of the novel through narration would make the audience become more involved and sympathetic towards the characters. She seems to have made a wise decision.

As the daughter of a Punjabi family in the early seventies (cue to obvious 70’s-tastic British soundtrack) Meena (Chandeep Uppal) is desperate to have the best of both worlds – being an Indian in Britain who is accepted by those around her whilst trying not to lose herself in the traditionalism of her family’s ways. Things change when she meets a girl called Anita (Anna Brewster) whom she wants to be. It’s over the course of the film that we discover that it is Meena who is the lucky one and that the rebellious Anita would love to have the stable life Meena’s family seem to have. The opposing heads of both families are played beautifully by Sanjeev Bhaskar and Kathy Burke. It’s as though these children represent the dreams of the parents, who try to live their lives through them, sometimes with disastrous effects.

Although the movie is very well played, the accents are really, really terrible. They sound strained and spoil the flow of the film. Even Lynn Redgrave comes across as someone putting on a bad accent in the punch line to a joke.

However, these accents aside, this is a very good little film and fans of EAST IS EAST or MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE will lap it up.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: A wryly observed little film which shows that although the grass always seems greener on the other side, perhaps it’s best to stay on your side of the fence.

4 out of 6 stars

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