Indian-Jewish filmmaker Priya Ruth Paul makes her debut with this comedy/drama about the clash between marital traditions and the contemporary world. The result feels more like a TV movie than a feature, with mild humor and familiar complications that will not be enough to compensate for Westerners' impatience with the meddling old woman.

Indian-Jewish filmmaker Priya Ruth Paul makes her feature debut with this comedy/drama about the clash between Indian marital traditions and the contemporary world. Set in well-to-do, hypermodern Chandigarth, among characters who almost always speak English (except when angry or upset), it centers on the conflicts of two young women more interested in careers and true love than in satisfying their matriarch’s determination to “arrange” their marriages. The result feels more like a TV movie than a feature, with mild humor and familiar complications that will not be enough to compensate for Westerners’ impatience with the meddling old woman. Despite the modern setting, she appears to be living in the middle ages.

Jaya (Neha Dubey) is a 21-year-old bullied into auditioning for various male suitors and their families, while fending off the advances of the arrogant jerk next door. Meanwhile, Uma (Rajeshwari Sachdev), her 30-year-old aunt, whose asthma has made her unable to find a husband, falls for a visiting Brit (William Randall), to the matriarch’s dismay. Performers and technical credits are no more than adequate.

The Perfect Husband

India

Production

A Crossover Films presentation of a Singna Communications production. Produced by Rajam Balachander, Pushpa Kandaswamy. Executive producer, V. Natarajan. Directed by Priya Ruth Paul. Screenplay, Priya Ruth Paul, Pramod Singh.

Crew

Camera (color), Dharam Gulati; editor, Sanjib Dutta; music, Sukhwinder Singh, Sanjoy Chowdhary; art director, Chokas Bharadwaj. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival, Jan. 10, 2003. English, Hindi, Punjabi dialogue. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Parvin Dabas, Neha Dubey, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Pawan Malhotra, William Randall, Sinia Duggal, Amin Hajee
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