a film by Harmage Singh Kalirai
2005 | 90 mins | UK
›› Chicken Tikka Masala
a manic comedy that speaks of gay love, only fails to show it.
Chicken Tikka Masala by Harmage Singh Kalirai Written by Roopesh Parekh, this raucous British comedy has a lot going for it. Yes in spite of all of its pros, of which there are many, it remains in the closet when it comes to depicting its same-sex theme.

Only the film is far from being the sole closet case. For here cue the life of not out to his family Preston born Hindu Jimi; a man in love with his partner Jack, but who in less than a weeks' time is set to marry the beautiful Simran, by way of an arranged marriage. Not that boyfriend Jack's reaction to the news is anything when compared to his sister Vanessa. Larger than life in every respect, Vanessa lets her thoughts be known in no uncertain terms, only to find herself embroiled in Jimi's increasingly desperate plans to play the role of the dutiful son. And a straight son at that too. But is this family obligation, one that goes beyond the call of duty?

Chicken Tikka Masala by Harmage Singh Kalirai That issues relating to arranged marriages and homosexuality within the Hindu ranks is no laughing matter for many, goes without saying. Yet in tackling a serious subject in comical fashion, actor and first time director Harmage Singh Kalirai delivers his heartfelt message for sexual acceptance, in a film that speaks of gay love, only fails to show it. All of which makes hard work for the loving couple of the piece. For whilst Chris Bisson as Jimi and Peter Ash as Jack do their best with the lines in front of them, in the end they are forced to show by way of words, emotions that are crying out for physical contact.

Thankfully the cast give the material their all, clearly relishing the cultural, if at times stereotypical overtones of the script, with Zohra Segal as the feisty grandmother desperate for a grandchild before she dies competing for the cinematic spotlight with Saeed (My Beautiful Laundrette) Jaffrey's sensitive portrayal of Jimi's father whose dicky ticker confounds the situation further, even if it is Sally Bankes as foulmouthed, drunken, man-obsessed Vanessa who steals the show. As a manic British comedy, this warm-hearted feature scores high. Where it fails however, is all but obvious.
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing catalogue / US
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue / UK
starring: Chris Bisson / Jimi Chopra, Saeed Jaffrey / C P Chopra, Sally Bankes / Vanessa, Peter Ash / Jack,
Zohra Segal / Grandmother, Shobu Kapoor / Minaxi Patel, Manjinder Mahal / Simran, Sushil Chudusama /
Ravi, Jamila Massey / Asha Chopra, Katy Clayton / Hanah, Louisa Eyo / Marlene, Dalu Solanki /
the Priest, Rony Ghosh / Mr Shah and Harish Patel as himself.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #186
›› previous page | back to top | print me ‹‹
click for gay celluloid - home