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–Parents who want son or daughter to wed and are constantly bringing in photos of potential suitors or setting up meetings.
–A plot involving an unsuitable romantic partner versus the husband or wife arranged for the protagonist years ago.
–Scooter-riding montages with laughter, goofing around, and close-up scenes of crowded, colorful Indian cities. One minute, the guy is driving and she is playfully covering his eyes–then she is driving and their eyes are wide in mock fear.
–The smiling couple buying food from street vendors to the pulsing of an energetic musical number.
–A giant spectacle of singing and dancing to wild rhythms in flowing costumes of crimson, saffron, lime, and indigo.
–A scene with the parents and fortune teller determining the auspiciousness of the match and the right day to wed.
–The actors caught up in a street festival, in cascades of brilliant color and fast-moving images.
–The train ride through the countryside, or the bus or tuk-tuk ride through town.
–Cell phones and texting figuring largely in the plot.
–The actors breaking into charming English phrasing, with the viewer slow to notice due to reliance on subtitles.
–Big, gaudy weddings, with the bride in a shining sari and nose ring, the groom handsome in long shirt and trousers.
–A story involving a convoluted business deal or scam leading to cringe-worthy scenes of deception.
–Beautiful, dewy-eyed actresses with lovely complexions.
–A couple in an arranged marriage slowly growing in affection and respect for one another.
–The fascination with love matches versus arranged marriages. After one such movie, there were real interviews with Indians on the street, who were still largely more comfortable with arranged marriages than with the Western way of meeting and falling in love before talking of nuptials.
–Meals of white rice with a ladle of thin liquid poured over, scooped up with the fingers.
–Conversations and close-ups of a delectable range of restaurant foods.
–Someone cooking chupatti.
–Flocks of birds scattering above telephone wires and blocky concrete buildings.
–Actors framed in archways and under Moorish architecture.
–Addressing of national issues–dowry scams, mistreatment of women, shady business practices–with an affectionate overtone.
–Warnings in opening credits about smoking being harmful to one’s health.
–Certificates of permission displayed in film’s opening, along with a memorial photo and tribute to someone who presumably died during the shoot.
–Wedding negotiations with the parents of the groom, while pretending they don’t want much, asking for what sounds like a bundle of money, along with random goods such as refrigerators.
–Deliciously corny discussions in the sale of visual concepts.
–Dreams of building a business and moving up in the world.
–Ideas of moving to America.
–Plans to finish college before getting married, especially for women.
–Scenes in homes of wildly wealthy families.
–Rural life with bicycles, boats, and oxcarts.
–An inside look into lives of Indian citizens of all classes and professions.
And that’s why I can’t get enough of these films, taking time to sample digital suggestions until I land on one that’s watchable, fun, immersive, even compelling.Published in