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Bollywood Queen

2006-03-30 12:09

Whether she's sitting through tedious economics lectures, attending to fussy matrons in the family's sari shop, or being chaperoned around chi-chi bars in the sports car of her family-approved boyfriend, Dialup, Geena's mind keeps drifting. She's entranced by the glamour of Bollywood and seduced by the sounds of R&B girl groups. Secretly, Geena has already formed a vocal trio with her two best friends, Anji and Neeta.

Then, Geena has an unexpected encounter with Jay, a new boy in town, and finds that love can be just as enthralling as the songs on the silver screen suggest. When Jay saves her from an accident outside the family factory, her hero fantasies, and the predictions of her astrologer uncle, seem to be fulfilled.

Jay has fled his drab west country small town and followed his brother, Dean, to the promise of the big city. There's little to keep him back home - just a dead-end job and a ne'er do well father who has been lost in booze since his wife's death. Dean's life - ducking and diving around the grey economy of London's rag trade - offers Jay excitement and ready cash.

Jay's encounter with Geena opens a door on a different London for him, and on a different way of life.

The pair's liaisons around London's East Side must be kept secret, however. Not only is Jay off limits as far as Geena's two over-protective brothers, Sanjay and Anil, are concerned, but he works for a rival garment manufacturer. Then there is the ongoing issue of Dillip. Jay's brother Dean is likewise unimpressed with Jay's sudden passion.

When the affair between Geena and Jay is uncovered, the two find themselves in the cross-fire of a vicious turf war over the lucrative but illegal trade in fake designer wear. Faced with a choice between between family loyalties and their love affair, the two escape to the wild west of Jay's native Somerset.

But Geena's new found independence means she is ready to face the music back home. In time-honoured Bollywood style, its climactic scene comes at an Indian wedding, where Geena and her group perform a provocative R&B song that tells of her love for Jay. Can her family accept the real Geena? Or will she and Jay discover that happy endings don't always turn out like the movies?

What the critics are saying:

"It's great to see a British film with such a surfeit of vibrancy and life, and a complete disregard for all the unambitious conventions that have come to plague recent home-grown cinema."
- Jamie Russell, BBCi

"We certainly do take the visuals of Bollywood songs for granted...but looking at the boring dance scenes in Bollywood Queen, it makes us appreciate the art and talent of choreographers in Hindi cinema more."
- Shahid Khan, Planet Bollywood

"...a buoyant, bright and enthusiastic homage to the Bollywood tradition that skilfully blends East and West."
- Channel 4 Film

Nineteen year old Geena apparently has everything going for her: a Business Studies course, a weekend job with the family firm, and a trophy boyfriend. Still, she longs for life to be more like the romance and adventure of her beloved Bollywood movies.

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