Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Manorama - Six Feet Under

When I read No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency a few years ago, I thought it was a fun little book. What a world of difference locale and atmosphere can make to an otherwise ordinary storyline. Whodunits are dime a dozen but move the action to the middle of the Botswana, add generous amounts of local flavor and you have a something very unusual and almost genre defying. As easy as the recipe sounds, it is difficult to pull it off with finesse like Alexander McCall Smith did.

Watching Manorama – Six Feet Under reminded me of the book at least in ambience. Gul Panag is quite exceptional as the nagging wife of the protagonist – a reprimanded junior engineer, wannabe detective novel writer whose first book has sold all of two hundred copies. Vinay Pathak as the loud but well-meaning brother-in-law balances out the staid and sullen Abhay Deol, the hero.

The movie employs very few of the standard Bollywood props and moves at a refreshingly languid pace. Just like the book, this is a fun little movie with a cast of believable, regular characters set in somewhat unusual situations. Miss Marple, I am guessing would have approved of this village sleuth with an eye for detail. For the rest of us, this is Bollywood but edgier.

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