Hollywood meets Bollywood.
Nerdy young scientist Brie Larson goes to India to launch the new GM rice she has created and strikes amorous sparks with poor student Utkarsh Ambudkar, unaware that her unscrupulous boss (Donald Sutherland) is using her as a stooge to rip off the local farmers.
Mostly filmed in 2013 but unreleased until 2017 (the year after Larson’s Oscar win for Room), Basmati Blues is a real oddity. It’s partly a satire on US agribusiness, partly a romantic comedy, and, most bizarrely of all, a musical. Given the setting, you would expect the songs to have a Bollywood flavour yet they are singularly lacking in spice.
You may still be curious to see a musical about rice, especially one that features the sight of Sutherland bursting into song (as does his henchwoman, Tyne Daly), but you shouldn’t be too surprised that it turned out bland.
Certificate PG. Runtime 102 mins. Director Dan Baron
Basmati Blues debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on 14 May.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.