Nisha Ganatra is the director, writer, and plays the central character of this film. She does well in two of these positions: the film has some very nice shots and bursts of funny and/or perceptive writing. As an actress, though, she is relatively expressionless, which makes her character seem very introverted. Even this would be ok except that there are way too many lingering shots of her character Reena on motorbike, or by the sea, or lying in bed, where we can only guess what's going on in her head.
Jill Hennessy does a lovely job as Reena's lover, and the unexpected issues she is faced with become very real on her expressive face. Reena's mother and sister are played by the mother-daughter pair of Madhur and Sakina Jaffrey. Sakina Jaffrey brings elegant subtlety to her role, though the complete lack of resemblance makes her a somewhat unlikely sister for Nisha Ganatra (and why do all the posters and publicity shots show Cara Buono, who has a small supporting role, instead of Sakina Jaffrey, who is much more central to the film?) Madhur Jaffrey is stuck with the stereotypical role of a Punjabi mother, corny lines and all, and plays it just a bit over the top. The rest of the Indian community is represented by an smirky hypocritical young man who sucks up to Reena's mother, leers at Reena, and when he hears she is lesbian, suggests a threesome.
The film maintains a light-hearted tone throughout, an excellent choice which raises the film above the predictable. Yes, the characters go through painful or emotional or embarrassing moments, but life goes on. The plot changes abruptly when Sarita, the infertile sister, decides to stop Reena's attempts at pregnancy. Soon after Reena finds she is pregnant but decides to keep the baby anyway. Tumult ensues, as Lisa, her SO, has no plans of babies within their relationship, and Sarita is equally unhappy. Yet the plot and dialogue consistently stay away from melodrama.
|Madhur and Sakina Jaffrey in the film|
The repeating shots of mehndi application are a lovely motif framing the central story.
-- Susan Chacko
Film description: A woman. Her girlfriend. A sister. Her husband. Their baby. A lighthearted look at the complications of surrogate motherhood, somewhere between New York and Indian-immigrant traditions.