15 August

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
15 August Movie Poster Image
Love finds a way in drawn-out Indian comedy; cursing.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 124 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love conquers all. Love hurts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

An artist does nothing to make it economically possible to support the woman he wants to marry.


People repeatedly try to yank a kid's hand out of a hole unsuccessfully. People threaten to slap each other.


"Motherf----r" and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigarettes. A drunk sleeps in his car and offers alcohol to a small boy, but is swatted away.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the title 15 August (in Marathi with English subtitles) is a reference to India's Independence Day, when neighbors and families gather to celebrate the country's independence and the sacrifices made by patriots. Arranged marriage is the subject. A lower-income couple desperately wants to marry off an attractive daughter to a wealthy suitor from the United States. But the daughter is in love with a local guy, an artist with neither prospects nor ambitions for financial stability. All around, neighbors prepare to celebrate the holiday, demonstrating communal cooperation, nosiness, and well-wishing. Language includes "f--k" and "ass." A boy's hand gets stuck in a hole.

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What's the story?

On 15 AUGUST, India's Independence Day, families and neighbors who share a rundown urban chawl, an Indian tenement, prepare for the traditional hoisting of the Indian flag. The festivities are accompanied by a visit from a local politician and a speech to express patriotism. Amid the preparations, Jui (Mrunmayee Deshpande), a modern young woman, balks at her parents' attempts to marry her off. The latest suitor is due to visit that day. He's a wealthy Indian-born man who lives lavishly in the United States but is looking for a traditional bride. Unfortunately, Jui is in love with Raju (Rahul Pethe), a young artist who doesn't have a job and is therefore unacceptable to her parents. They've been forbidden to see each other and although they are still in love, Jui scolds Raju for making nothing of himself in the years since they've known each other. When the suitor arrives with his parents, Jui is taken by his looks, humor, and acceptance of her situation. At the same time, a small boy gets his hand stuck in the flagpole hole in front of the tenement, and much of the plot revolves around efforts to extract his hand.

Is it any good?

This Indian comedy isn't for everyone. There's a sweetness and innocence to 15 August that could be appealing, but the large cast of characters, jokes that only Indian audiences will understand, and two-hour-plus length make this a tough sell to American audiences. The comedy is broad, with pontificating know-it-all-neighbors, arguing parents, mischievous kids, and old guys whining about the way things used to be. When the boy's hand gets stuck in the hole, it's with a sinking feeling that one realizes the entire movie will be taken up with the mini-drama of getting that hand out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of arranged marriages. What do you think the reason for such arrangements might be?

  • Do you think Jui made the right decision when she weighed love for a poor man she already knew against the possibility of coming to love a nice new guy who has lots of money? Why or why not?

  • Based on watching the interactions in 15 August, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of living in such close quarters with other families?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love foreign films

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