News! ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Worth a Visit!By Lavina Melwani • May 3rd, 2012 • Category: Cinema
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Adventures in India
If the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was really a hotel in Rajasthan, I think I’d like to spend a few weeks there for there’s just such a kookie charm about the going-to-seed establishment and the young manager Sonny Kapoor, played by Dev Patel with maniac energy and chutzpah, is such an exuberant, happy host.
Indeed ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ gives outsourcing a whole new dimension. What if old age could be outsourced – to India? The film follows a group of British retirees who decide to move to India to get more bang for their buck – and discover a whole new world at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ‘for the Elderly and Beautiful.’
No Return to the Raj this, this warm and wry comedy takes you into the lives of seven Britishers in the sunset of their lives and shows there’s nothing quite as wonderful or an unpredictable as an Indian sunset: lives change, attitudes change, love happens and by the end of it, most of them are thoroughly charmed.
India gets to them all.
A Peep into ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and the lives of its inhabitants…
Considering the fact that apart from the love story of Sonny Kapoor and his girl friend played by the vivacious Tena Desae, the film is really about seven crusty senior citizens, you don’t have any dull moments at all – and that’s credit to the wonderful ensemble cast of actors who make it all come alive. It’s a pleasure to sit back and watch the stellar actors Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup, not to mention India’s own Lillette Dubey. Each f their stories has pathos and humor, and each character is real, etched with consummate skill. The film has already received critical and box office acclaim in Britain and is sure to be remembered at Oscar time for some strong performances.
India & the Stars of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Recently several of the stars were in New York and met with the press at a conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel ( a far cry from the crumbling Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!) It was almost intimidating to see so much distinguished star power gathered in the room but they were all surprisingly down-to-earth and chatty. Judi Dench, Penelope Wilton and Tom Wilkinson were there along with Indian actress Tena Desae, who makes her western debut in this film, and the acclaimed director John Madden.
The actors spoke about their diverse experiences in India: “India is a land like no other. You can’t begin to know the meaning of the word ‘culture shock’ until you get there. I don’t think I ever recovered!” said Tom Wilkinson. He added: ”This country (US) is a tiny country, this is a piffling 300 million people; we in the Britain are a piffling $ 60 million people – that’s 1.3 billion people! it’s an enormous proposition, India and I recommend it to everyone of you!”
Judi Dench said, “My character says ‘India is an assault on the senses’ and I never had a desire to go to India but within 24 hours I was completely, completely fascinated and bewitched by the country. The beauty of the people I thought was astounding – the color, the noise, the smell – everything about it is completely staggering – and I can’t wait to go back there. ” She added: “We’ve made some remarkable friends who are very keen on the mobile so if my mobile was to go off now – it’s probably one of them!”
Asked about working with Dev Patel, who was unable to make it to the press conference, Dench was high praise. “Dev Patel – yes, he’s probably got more energy than any other actor I’ve ever met and that’s in 56 years of being in the theater. He is a powerhouse and also each take is never quite the same, so it’s very exciting. He’s utterly delightful and I watch his career fantastically closely. In the scene welcoming us, he’s a powerhouse, he’s like a battery, he’s like a very strong battery – he always wants to try new things. He’s also a very funny, sweet, gentle modest man.”
The actors spoke about India, about theater and film, about their own lives, about how they would never like to retire from acting, be it in India or elsewhere. Listening to those wonderful voices off the screen was quite a pleasure and a privilege. Judi Dench shared a parting bit of wisdom from a friend: “He said always look for the pluses and somehow it’s a very good piece of advice. Even if it’s a very small plus, you get something out of something instead of the erosion of always thinking your cup is half empty.”
Indeed, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has powerful British talent but India of course is still the star and top scene stealer. India’s unmatched contrasts, crowds, color, celebrations and sorrows are a palpable presence in the film. If you’re a fan of India and a fan of fine performances – then head for ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Adventures in India with John Madden
“Since the characters are all of a certain age, it was a chance to cast actors who are at the peak of their abilities. They were the most extraordinary resource and they brought the story alive. The sheer level of comic talent, acting skill and depth of experience was staggering. The only thing we had to do was bring them together with an equally skilled ensemble of Indian actors, and then watch them collide with this magnificent country.
“In this story, definitions of age and maturity completely fall away because the characters are made young again by the situations they find themselves in. Challenged and overwhelmed by the experience of modern India, caught in different forms of emotional realignment – friendships, liaisons, rivalries – as well as in unfinished business that sparks in comic eruptions – they find that ultimately the only thing that matters is what is happening right then and there, between them.”
- Director John Madden