Radhika Apte Makes A Tame International debut

Though it is a watchable  psychological  thriller, Michael Winterbottom’s The  Wedding Guest has proven to be  a fairly disastrous  international debut for  the exceptionally talented Radhika Apte.

 As a  matter of fact, watching the  film I wondered why she agreed  to do it. She clearly has a subservient role to play  vis-à-vis  Dev Patel who  co-produces this agreeable but  scarcely  memorable  drama  about a mercenary assassin  who is  hired  to kidnap a Pakistani bride  virtually from her wedding venue, by her Indian  boyfriend(JimSarbh, wasted)  in England.

Interesting and provocative premise, and a thoroughly miscast Dev Patel(who looks as  much like an assassin as  Daniel Craig would  as  an Indian immigrant  in Britain)  brings down the  narrative’s tension. Radhika is just fine as  the  runaway bride. There is an inherent  sense  of danger and doom surrounding her character  and she  serves  the character’s purpose  effectively, even  doing a  steamy  love-making scene(now viral on  the Internet,  so much for plucking relevancy  out of context)  with Patel  where she exposes more than just her talent.A  lot more.

As the  first Indian actress to go nude in a foreign language film(no , make that the second actress, Simi Garewal  had flashed more than her  grin in Conrad Rooks’ Siddharth  aeons ago)  one would like to commend Ms Apte for  being so comfortable in her skin. But  the effort is unnecessary, and worse, irrelevant as the  love-making sequence  could have been just effective without the  nudity.

The Wedding Guest is not  the British director  Michael Winterbottom’s first  India-based  love story. In  2011 he had cast India’s Freida Pinto(what happened  to her???) and  the  British-Pakistani Riz Ahmed in  Trishna an  adaptation of  the Thomas Hardy  literary classic Tess Of  d’Uberville which  sank without trace.

The Wedding  Guest seems headed for a similar  catastrophe.

 But it’s good to see Asian actors being  cast in  lead roles in  a bunch  of  recent films: Dev Patel and Radhika Aptein The Wedding Guest ,  Himesh Patel in Danny Boyle’s Yesterday which opened in India this week  , Pakistani-American stand-up comedian Kunal Nanjiani  in  Stuber which opens  worldwide next week  …Wonder whyPriyanka  Chopra is  missing  out on the  neo-renaissance  in global cinema  .

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