A breezy romcom with former Australian international cricketer Brett Lee in the lead does not sound like a good deal. Especially when we know that in the past all the cricketers like Sunil Gawaskar, Sandip Patil, Ajay Jadeja, Vinod Kambli and some more who made a ballsy career switch could not survive in the film industry. But this cross-cultural Australian romcom UnIndian is different! Brett Lee plays the role of Will, an English teacher who falls head over heels in love with Meera, an Australian-Indian single mother played by Tannishtha Chatterjee. UnIndian revolves around the story of the two protagonists and how they end up in a scandalous ‘UnIndian’ thing and the other complexities of the Indian diaspora.
UnIndian starts with Meera’s parents, played by Supriya Pathak and Akash Khurana, worrying about the single independent mother who is doing a fab job taking care of her daughter alone. The whereabouts of her husband are not discussed much initially. The movie might be named UnIndian, but it begins with a very Indian situation of intruding parents trying to help their daughter find the perfect match while the daughter is busy living her life and is happy.
Meera’s life is one rollercoaster ride, all thanks to Indian women in Australia who want to set her up with the perfect Indian man to make her life complete. After getting introduced to the Indian half of the story, we get introduced to the ‘UnIndian’ Aussie bloke, Will.
The plot of UnIndian revolves around the divorcee single mother and the English teacher caught in this scandalous love affair, Will’s career and the curious daughter of Meera who wants to get in touch with her father. (ALSO READ: Watch official trailer of UnIndian: Brett Lee romances hot Bengali actress Tannishtha Chatterjee in Bollywood debut!)
We have seen Brett Lee impress us on the cricket field; off-field too, the former Australian international cricketer managed to wow us with a music album with India’s legendary singer Asha Bhosle. So, this time when the Bret Lee made his debut on big screen, we were not expecting anything big. But Brett Lee manages to have a natural presence on camera yet charms the audience in this movie opposite Tannishtha Chatterjee.
Tannishtha Chatterjee and Brett Lee have amazing chemistry in UnIndian. This might be because the leading lady has never been interested in cricket and she was never in awe of the former Australian cricketer.
We all know Tannishtha Chatterjee is a fine performer and it was nice to see Brett Lee doing a decent job as a lead in the movie supported by his friend TK played by Arka Das. Maya Sathi who plays the daughter Smita has also done a decent job. Gulshan Grover’s role in the movie is kept under wraps for most part of the movie, he plays a significant role towards the end of the movie. It goes without saying that Supriya Pathak and Akash Khurana are actors with years of experience and it shows. Though Pathak might annoy you with her nagging and intruding nature, but that is what makes this movie realistic and relatable.
Brett Lee’s Charm
Brett Lee as Will definitely charms the audience in UnIndian. Be it the only dialogue he mutters in Hindi, “Maine Kaccha Nahi Pehna Hai“, aping Salman Khan’s Kick dance (Yes, he does the Jumme Ki Raat dance!) or his natural acting, he has definitely tried his best in this movie.
Anupam Sharma who has produced Australian shoots for Dil Chahta Hai and Heyy Babyy has tried to showcase the Indians settled in Australia without trying to squeeze in as many cliches the other movie makers have so far used. Although the director said that UnIndian is Australia’s movie like Gurinder Chadha’s popular Bend It Like Beckham, the movie manages to steer clear of the cliched Indian culture portrayal. Thank god!
There is not much of the ‘Indian Culture’ overdose except for a Holi function sequence in the beginning of the movie and the dance sequence, which the makers could have done away with, during the closing credits. There are some cliches like Indian food called ‘too spicy’ for the palate of foreigners, and also the Indian view on homosexuality and how they expect it to be ‘cured’ with some help from a holy person. And then there’s the preference for the perfect groom by an Indian family, mostly a doctor!
The first half of UnIndian is light and funny, but the second half is filled with unnecessary drama used to bring the much needed substance to the movie. This romcom is a leisurely watch – don’t expect much from it. But we loved the experimentation with the casting of UnIndian starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Brett Lee, Supriya Pathak, Akash Khurana and Gulshan Grover.
Rating: 2.5 stars | Edited by Shweta Parande.