People love being the first. Whether that notion relates to seeing a new product, or being the first in line to buy tickets to a concert, everyone strives to be in that position.
In my world – journalism – being the first can separate you from the rest of the pack. So while weaving around the 2nd annual India International Film Festival in Tampa, FL, I’ll usually try to catch a few world premieres. One cannot expect too much, but you never know when you’re going to see potential. And over the last year, I’ve seen an abundance of potential. Blood & Curry is no exception.
Before we dive into what some might call a “micro-review,” keep in mind that it’s a common practice to have cast and crew members of the respective film at these screenings, for they partake in staple Q&A session with the audience. Representing Blood & Curry was one of the film’s stars in Fagun Thakrar.
Fagun is known in the Bollywood realm and is starting to make some noise in Hollywood. Growing up in London and training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she has been a part of commercials and stage productions all over the world. Landing roles in well-known Bollywood pieces has led to her being sought out for roles in Hollywood. Currently, she is shooting Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, which stars Martin Sheen, Micha Barton and Kal Penn.
Prior to the screening of Blood & Curry, Fagun did mention to me that the flick is still a “work in progress.” Writer/director and star of the piece, Atul Shamra, is obviously still working out the kinks but did want to send over a more-or-less rough draft, in support of the festival.
Knowing all that, you’re not going to get the typical review from yours truly (try not to cry), but here’s a few thoughts on Blood and Curry’s potential…
First and foremost, the flick has an interesting premise. Atul & Deepa (Fagun Thakrar) are an Indian couple, living in Los Angeles. On this night, they’re having a celebration at their home to commemorate their anniversary as husband and wife. Most of the guests will have an Indian background, save for their neighbors Elizabeth (Angie Light) and her husband Jason (Brandon McConnell). Deepa, has formed a tight bond with her neighbor Elizabeth and tells her everything. Including how she is not thrilled about her arranged marriage with Atul.
While preparing for the party, Atul kills Deepa (the guy has had enough apparently) at their home, just minutes before guests start to arrive. He covers her up and places her in the garage. Moments later, Elizabeth arrives and finds it quite odd that Deepa is not at her own celebration. As the house fills up with friends and family, Atul has to deal with question after question about the whereabouts of his wife. Little do they know, she’s right there with them.
The concept is very Hitchcock and/or Twilight series based. An underlying theme found in the story is how the Indian culture is viewed from “outsiders” such as Elizabeth and other random non-Indian guests. Which turns into a nice social commentary for the audience to dissect. Obviously, the hiding of the body adds in the suspense as the Atul character consistently displays a subtle paranoia as more people begin to grill him about Deepa’s whereabouts.
Since this is not the final edit, it goes without saying (but I will anyway) the direction and selling of certain plot points can be a little weak. The script teases a bunch of different angles – which all make sense – but this particular edit didn’t sell the audience on what to think. What it did manage to do, despite being incomplete, is induce a provocative response from the viewers. In other words, people wanted to see more. Any reaction is always a good thing.
The acting is serviceable and improves greatly as the story unfolds. Aside from the suspense angle, a few comedic moments are found as well. All this piece really needs is a good edit – and ordering – in the storytelling department. The overall story is engaging and fun, but the delivery can be suspect at certain points.
After the flick ended, Fagun received a ton of questions regarding the flick. It was one of the more lively Q&A’s these green eyes have ever witnessed at a film festival. A testament to the “work in progress” that is Blood & Curry. As I briefly spoke with her as we were walking out of the theater, she mentioned how she would be heading back shoot additional scenes to iron out the above mentioned kinks.
Either way, Blood & Curry blends two provocative subplots that instantly grabs the audiences’ attention. Looking forward to seeing the final product down the road. And keep your eye on the talented Fagun Thakrar my friends.