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Namaste Wahala, An Indo-Nigerian-Coca Cola Promotional Valentine Venture With Good Looking Leads & Colourful Clothes

Starring Ini Dima-Okojie ,Ruslaan Mumtaz

Namaste  Wahala(Netflix)

Directed  by Hamisha Devyani  Ahuja

Rating: **

If clothes maketh a  movie as they maketh a  man, then  this  Indo-Nigerian cross-cultural romance would  top the list of things-you-must-do-before-you-die. Of course this film is no such  earthshaking  occurrence. At the most,  it is a mildly enjoyable cute confection with a boy-man-meets-girl-woman-in-Nigeria plot as  predictable as humanly possible.

  Sparks fly, etc etc.  Within ten minutes of the film’s fast-flowing fluff feast Handsome Indian Investment banker Raj(Ruslaan Mustan) tells Pretty Nigerian Lawyer Didi(Ini Dima-Okojie)  she is the girl he’s  going to marry. There is no dramatic conflict here, not when both the families are super-privileged and invested in looking  their Sunday-best even when they  roll out of bed on Monday arrives.

 The  bad-vibe drama begins when Raj’s mother Meera(Sujata Sehgal) lands up at her son’s doorstep(after  a lengthy “comic relief” sscene  with a taxidriver at the airport that should have been declared dead on arrival). Soon the Indian mom is having  a food feud with her future daughter-in-law, and   hurling insults at her son’s  Nigerian girlfriend and her family who, by the way, are no walkover. 

Didi’s father  runs a huge legal firm where heir-apparent  Didi  doesn’t want  to work in. She would rather use her  legal skills to help abused women. 

Awwwwww!  So  sweet. Privileged  daughter  with a conscience. It’s all a  very streaming-of-conscience  OTT formula. Except the leads  , Ruslaan and Inni who look  good  together and apart, and  act suitably  bemused at the formulistic goings-on, the rest of  the  cast takes its OTTresponsibilities very seriously. Everyone is  over-acting all the time. Or maybe the Africans are  more expressive than  Indians. There  is an actress playing the heroine’s ‘manizing’ bestfriend(the  other side of womanizing) whose face is a  miracle of  multi-expressions. She  rolls her  eyes, wriggles her lips and is constantly…ummm..acting?

Everyone talks as if they are reading out the lines from  a teleprinter, and trying not to laugh while promoting   Coco Cola at every given opportunity.  But it’s not all a lost case . There’s  some fun to be had in the festive colourful bright  bouncy  aura  and the best sequence comes  after the end-credits (after the Big Fat Bollywood Wedding-Dance)  where the hero’s Indian mother asks the heroine’s Nigerian  father  for dahej.

But the best dialogue in the entire run-of-the-treadmill fare  is between the heroine’s mother and  heroine’s  bestie. Mom puts her hands  on man-preying   bestie’s buxom chest and counsels, “Nobody buys  the cow when he can get the  milk for free.”

Touche.

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