The people's party

Author Hari Kunzru used to have no time for the kitsch, trashy movies of his father's homeland. Then he realised that behind the romance and musical fantasy of Indian film was a serious social message. Just don't call it Bollywood ...

Hari Kunzru, The Guardian

It all started with a film called Tere Ghar ke Samne ("In Front of Your House"). Late one night I sat up with a girlfriend and was unexpectedly charmed by this romantic comedy set in early-1960s Delhi. Dev Anand plays a smooth, young foreign-educated architect who is engaged by two feuding businessmen to build rival dream houses on adjacent lots. The trouble is that one client is his father, and the other the father of the girl he loves. How is he to please everyone?

The girl is the sublimely beautiful Nutan, who illuminates the screen as thoroughly as any Hollywood goddess. Anand is debonair and driven to distraction, in Cary Grant-esque fashion. Things resolve themselves in a light-operatic way, as Dev finally unites the two families by marrying his love at an altar-cum-conversation pit in the swish, space-age modernist pad he has built for everyone to live in together - a typically Indian, extended-family solution to the problem! ... (more)

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