WRITTEN BY: Thushy Sathiamoorthy
DIRECTED BY: Anupam Sharma
STARRING: Brett Lee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Maya Sathi
RATING: 2 stars

Meera (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a divorced single mother of Smitha (Maya Sathi). While she has carved out a successful career for herself, Meera is still under pressure from her strict Indian family to find a suitable match, preferably an Indian doctor. Instead, Meera meets blonde university English teacher Will (Brett Lee). But falling in love with an Australian man is so controversially “unindian”.

I cannot say Unindian is a good romantic comedy, but I laughed out loud a lot, so there is definitely some enjoyment to be had. There is a certain charm to the sweet story and the cross-cultural set up offers many opportunities for jokes and social commentary. I am sure there will be many Australians with various ethnic backgrounds who will watch this film and relate to some of the cultural issues the protagonists confront. Unindian provides some insight into Indian life, including arranged marriages and how they feel about homosexuality, while also hamming up Australian slang with Will comically teaching Aussie English lessons to immigrants. The film also explores some darker themes, including a child custody dispute. Of course, the music is central to the film and casual fans of Bollywood will probably bop along to some fun songs.

Lee, a former cricket player, gives a surprisingly decent performance in his first proper acting role and has good chemistry with Chatterjee. It is also great to see a rare mixed-race relationship in an Australian film between a darker-skinned woman and a lighter-skinned man. The sex scene, which is not overly risque, is more racially significant for Australia than perhaps director Anupam Sharma even intended.

Ultimately, Unindian presents one embarrassing scene after another, and is full of lame dialogue and awkward moments. But the film stays true to what it set out to do. Unindian has a very specific target audience, and for those people, it does a great job.