Movie – Patiala House

After hearing my friend say unflattering things about the movie, I went to see the movie with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised.  The tricks and ploys by the large group of youngsters of the family to keep the truth from the patriarch are at best tame and at worst illogical and unreal.  But the large extended Indian family residing in UK, ruled by the patriarch Bauji’s (Rishi Kapoor) diktats, his attempt to recreate an Indian life with Indian values and attachment to India and all things Indian, seems very real.  His son, Gattu (Akshay Kumar) aspires to become a cricketer but is held back from following his dreams because Bauji does not believe that he should play on behalf of UK (land of Goras),  which would sometimes also include playing against India.  As he sacrifices his dreams, Gattu becomes a shining example of an ideal son and is extremely disliked and ridiculed by other younger members of the family, who are also living a life of misery and shattered dreams, under Bauji’s rules.  While telling the familiar story of struggles of the first generation to make a life in a foreign land (sometimes ridiculed for their clothing, their accents etc. by the majority population), their deep ties to the land of their birthplace (self inflicted pressure to “save” the culture), duel identities of the second generation (who dream e.g. of becoming a rap singer but succumb to the requirements of singing bhajans at home), their rebellion to follow their dreams, the inability of the subsequent generations to understand the struggles of the first generation which made it possible for them to enjoy equal rights is all nicely woven together in the engaging story of a game loved in both India and UK.  Father-son bonding scenes are touching, drama of extended family is fun, and the moral to “chase your dreams” emerges convincingly.


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