Flavors is an interesting look at a week in the lives of a group of Indian and Indian-American software engineers and their friends and families. Like Crash, the screenplay eventually surprises us by making the lives of these people criss-cross in unexpected ways. But Flavors has a smaller number of characters, which gives them more depth and so, their stories manage to stand on their own too.
The film has a positive vibe that makes it enjoyable. Its intention is to entertain and not complain about the lives of its characters. So though the characters do not always lead happy lives, the movie doesn’t revel in their sadness. And though they may not always do the right things, the film doesn’t point fingers at them. The characters understand each other and make the best of the situation they are in. So though it doesn’t seem so at first glance, Flavors is definitely a feel-good film.
This characteristic also helps make the film quite unpredictable. We’re never really sure what the characters are going to do next and characters that we initially think are introduced for a few laughs end up playing a much bigger role. Even the track we think is the most predictable in the film doesn’t proceed as expected. The unpredictability extends right upto the end as the characters are linked in unexpected ways. Some of the links (one in particular) are sprung on us very unexpectedly and point to a very clever screenplay. Sure its gimmicky and maybe even a little overdone but it was still fun as each new link was uncovered.
The movie has great fun pairing up people who are quite unlike each other. So we get a traditional Indian mother coming to terms with her American daughter-in-law. We get a guy pining for a girl paired with another who thinks every girl who looks at him is in love with him. Even small scenes, like an American manager failing to understand if the engineer is nodding his head to mean “Yes” or “No”, derive their laughs from this difference in culture, thoughts or dreams.
Actors are chosen perfectly. First place though goes to the groom’s parents, Anjan Srivastava and Bharati Achrekar, who make a couple that is both lovable and very much in love (the latter is conveyed in a matter-of-fact manner through a lovely little scene). Bharati, in particular, is phenomenal as she tries to bond with her American bahu. The actor who plays the guy who has realized his love for a classmate rather late and the actress who plays the lonely housewife also make an impression because they slip into their roles so perfectly.
The film makes frequent jumps between the different tracks and this quick editing keeps the film moving. Dialogs are not particularly clever but are pretty snappy and there are some good comebacks. Other techniques like split screens and a constantly shifting timeline also help the film keep our interest.
PS: Thanks Deepa, Ram and Filbert for the recommendation.