It's a Wonderful Afterlife: Movie Review
It's A Wonderful Afterlife
Cast: Goldy Notay, Shabana Azmi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sanjeev
Director: Gurindha Chadha
From director of Bend It Like Beckham comes this latest cinematic outing.
It's A Wonderful Afterlife is the tale of Mrs Sethi (Azmi) an Indian mother
living in London whose daughter Roopi (Notay) is a constant unlucky in love
Continually rejected Roopi stands no chance of being married off - but her
mother has other plans turning to the murder of those who have disrespected or
mocked her daughter.
However, she finds the spirits of the slain coming back to haunt her - as the
police continue to investigate the killings.
And things get further complicated for Mrs Sethi and Roopi as Roopi falls for
Sendhil Ramamurthy Raj, a DI investigating the case..
It's A Wonderful Afterlife feels like a film harking back to the 1960s -
while director Chadha has said she was after channeling Ealing comedies, it's
the script and some terrible jokes which don't help. Everyone gives fair
performances but with such a clunker of a script, it's hard for any of them to
rise out of the mire.
It's supposed to be a horror comedy - with homages to Carrie and Alien, it's
clear Chadha has honourable intentions - but with a succession of unwelcome fat
jokes, it's, to be frank, a major disappointment.
I get that it's supposed to reflect and to some level parody attitudes within
Indian communities towards marriage (and even reincarnation) but it just doesn't
rise out of clichéd humour and stereotypes which are frustrating in the extreme.
And it builds and builds towards a staged but at times amusing homage to Carrie
- complete with curry explosions.
Of the ghosts which haunt Mrs Sethi, UK comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar has the
lion's share of the funny lines (as you'd expect) as a philandering husband
whose stomach explodes at the start of the film thanks to a poisoned curry - and
then spends the rest of the film with his innards hanging out.
Maybe 20 or 30 years ago this film would be welcome - but in this 21st
century, it leaves as much of a terrible after taste as a over seasoned curry
reheated two days after a night out on the town.