Earnest if slow-moving Indian drama “My Brother Nikhil” sympathetically chronicles the plight of a champion swimmer who’s ostracized after it is discovered that he has been infected with HIV. Case-pleading, dignified pic from writer-director Onir came out in March to disappointing B.O. on the home front and is too tactful (especially regarding lead character’s sexuality) for export.
Cocky Nikhil (Sanjai Suri) is coastal Goa’s new swimming champion, realizing a dream sacrificed by his hard-driving father (Victor Banerjee) so he could run the family antiques biz. But Nikhil chafes at parental pressure to get married; he’s unwilling to confess he’s gay, and that best friend Nigel (Purab Kohli) is his lover (though pic scarcely allows them physical contact). When a blood test reveals Nikhil has contracted HIV, he’s kicked off the swim team and dragged by police to a filthy “quarantine” where he languishes for months before being legally freed. Expected family histrionics and public prejudices are aired before the tasteful tragic conclusion. Too many characters get direct-to-camera narration interludes, however, slowing the otherwise polished and well acted tale.