Review: ‘With Love to Obama’

A cute premise and an attention-getting title can't lend sophomore helmer Subhash Kapoor's "With Love to Obama" enough traction to overcome an uneven tone and an excess of bowel humor.

A cute premise and an attention-getting title can’t lend sophomore helmer Subhash Kapoor’s “With Love to Obama” enough traction to overcome an uneven tone and an excess of bowel humor. Tale of a bankrupt Indian emigre returning home and getting kidnapped by a hierarchy of gangsters plays broadly with stereotypes, spoofing the idea of the American success story but lacking the tightness to make this more than a forgettable diversion. Positive press at home following a December opening couldn’t completely overcome the nation’s wariness of low-budget affairs, though pic may prove popular with expats in ancillary.

The recession wipes out Indian-American businessman Om (Rajat Kapoor, the only non-caricature), so to forestall repossession, he goes back to India to sell the family manse. Gang leader Bhaisaab (Sanjay Mishra), thinking he can charge a huge ransom, has Om kidnapped by bungling, Obama-loving henchman Anni (Manu Rishi), only to learn the guy’s broke. Om suggests they maintain the myth of his wealth and sell him to more powerful gangsters. Good-natured ribbing, heavy on malapropisms, send up both India and America, but the aim is dulled by lowbrow farce. Visuals are standard.

With Love to Obama



A Revel Films production. (International sales: Mirchi Movies, Mumbai.) Produced by Ashok Pandey. Executive producer, Naren Kumar. Directed, written by Subhash Kapoor.


Camera (color), Arvind Kannabiran; editor, Sandeep Singh Bajeli; music, Manish J. Tipu; production designer, Gautam Sen; costume designer, Veera Kapur. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 11, 2011. Running time: 108 MIN.


Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Mishra, Manu Rishi, Pragati Pandey, Sumit Nijhawan, Amit Sial, Amole Gupte, Brijendra Kala, Sushil Pandey, Devender Chaudhary, Surendra Rajan, Dinesh Nag. (Hindi dialogue)

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