Capturing an indelible image of everyday life in the teeming, sweaty streets of urban Bombay, circa 1971, "Such a Long Journey" is lightly humorous fable about a modest, honorable and frustrated family man caught in a more complicated and less satisfying life than he ever imagined.
He's estranged from his cynical, strong-headed son over the boy's choice against attending technical college. He's praying for the retreat of his young daughter's malaria. He's stuck in the middle of a civic power struggle over the planned demolition of the wall that provides precious tranquillity to the courtyard of his clamorous apartment building -- the weather-beaten hulk of an imperial-era mansion.
This reticent, bank clerk named Gustad (Roshan Seth) hardly needs anything else on his plate when a long-absent friend -- who claims to be a spy in the war against Pakistan -- asks him to help laundering a large sum of (possibly embezzled) money through his bank.
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"Monsoon Wedding" could be seen as Bollywood's answer to "Father of the Bride," but such a comparison would be selling short this choice culture clash comedy-drama.
Said clash is an internal one, however, between the modernized, Westernized everyday lives of an upper middle-class New Delhi family and their Punjabi rituals and traditions that include the arranged marriage at hand.
Beautiful, stunningly blue-eyed young Aditi (Indian pop singer Vasundhara Das) has agreed to the match made by her parents because she's become bewildered by her mixed-up life and wants to force herself to take a direction. This is easier said than done, since even the night before the wedding she's still being led to temptation by a lover she's trying to leave behind -- a married, egocentric and manipulative TV talk show host.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.