Polite Society – Film Review

Polite Society – Film Review
by Fran Winston

Directed by: Nida Manzoor
Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Akshay Khanna, Jeff Mirza, Ella Bruccoleri, Seraphina Beh

In cinemas April 28th

Described as a feminist action comedy this feature film debut from writer/director Manzoor has a lot more than that going on once you scratch the surface.

Kansara and Arya play sisters Ria and Lena Kahn. Ria dreams of becoming a stuntwoman and shows off her skills on her YouTube channel which her sister helps her film. Meanwhile, Lena has dropped out of art school and is somewhat directionless. That is until she is set up with Salim (Khanna), a dashing and wealthy geneticist. Agreeing to the arranged marriage and giving up on her art, she sets about preparing for her whirlwind wedding.

However, Ria doesn’t trust her brother-in-law to be or his mother and is convinced there is something more sinister going on. She sets out to investigate, determined to save her sister.

This is incredibly whimsical. Lena and her friends approach breaking up the engagement of her sister like a military operation and find themselves in some absolutely ludicrous situations. There are also plenty of opportunities for her to try out her stunt fighting skills in the slickly choreographed fight scenes. These are often quite whimsical whether it be a sibling argument taken to the max, or fighting off assassin beauticians who are trying to wax her, everything here is heightened.

Alongside this, there is a serious underlying message about the role of women, particularly Indian women in society. This is what essentially drives the entire film as Ria battles against the expectations placed upon young women while the older women struggle with accepting the sacrifices they had to make. The story does take a rather bizarre turn in the final act but at this stage, you have embraced the whimsy and just roll with it.

This is part Kick-Ass, part Bend It Like Beckham and all heart. Kansara and Arya are wonderful as sisters whose evolving lives create a wedge between them. Kansara in particular shines as she embraces the madness of the piece and really throws herself into the role and, of course, every single fight scene.

This is infectiously entertaining and has a fantastic energy. It takes plenty of unexpected twists and surprises at every turn. It takes all the best elements of British and Bollywood films and mixes them in a blender for a fantastic slick smorgasbord of surrealism. It is great fun and manages to get its message across without the viewer even realising it. This should definitely be on your “to watch” list.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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