Parents' Guide to

Rajma Chawal

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Some cursing, violence in thoughtful Indian comedy-drama.

Movie NR 2018 118 minutes
Rajma Chawal Poster Image

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There's a kind of magic that takes hold in RAJMA CHAWAL early in the second act. Before this, the movie seems like it's going to be the worst of clichéd stories about "the generation gap," the kind where Dad doesn't know the meaning of "LOL" and Son just wants to be left alone with his smartphone and his indie rock. But then, as Kabir walks through a narrow alley in the traditional neighborhood of his family, there's a procession of locals, unique individuals all, and the robes are saffron and pink, and it's all quite beautiful. You realize the movie isn't the cliché it seems destined to be, but rather a deeper exploration of what "community" really means, in contrast to the more modern substitutions for community.

It's a comedy and drama about traditions and evolution, being a citizen of a neighborhood as much as a global citizen, of trying to connect with those one should be most connected to. While there's a tendency to get a little too close to melodrama, the characters, dialogue, and acting go far to bring a third dimension to these characters. The Chandi Chowk neighborhood, and New Delhi as a whole, are so prevalent that they feel like characters themselves. This is a beautiful movie that delivers more than what the first impressions might indicate.

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