A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this family-friendly Bollywood film does address some adult problems, including unemployment and poverty. But it does so with a light touch that probably won't be too distressing to kids. The movie's lessons are simplistic but useful, and though there's some swearing, concerns for young viewers are overridden by how much fun it all is.
What's the story?
TA RA RUM PUM is the American Dream story of Ravjeer (Saif Ali Khan), who gets a great job as a race car driver with help from Harry (Jaaved Jafferi). Ravjeer (or RV) marries Radhika (Rani Mukerji), and they have two kids. RV acquires their NYC home, and everything else, "on installment." Everything is going great until RV gets in an accident, and his dreams are dismantled one defaulted loan at a time. But RV and Radhika don't tell their kids what's going on. They keep them in the same private school even as they downsize to a large studio, telling them it's because they're on a hidden-camera reality show called Don't Worry, Be Happy, with the prize going to those who take on adversity with utmost grace and a smiling face. Will RV and Radhika manage to come up with the school fees in a month? Will the children find out? Will they land on their feet again?
Is it any good?
Ta Ra Rum Pum is predictable but also invigorating, like a day at a county fair eating too much junk and going on too many fast rides. Siddharth Anand's Bollywood confection is a feel-good film in English and Hindi (with subtitles) that's stuffed with extended-but-exciting car chases, lavish dance numbers, not-so-subtle moral lessons, and a meandering plot, it's sweet but somehow not saccharine. Even better, it's loads of fun.
Oddly enough, the lessons in this Indian film -- one of the best homages to New York City -- are supremely sensible and startlingly American: Go to college. Avoid buying on credit. Eat lunch every day. Thankfully, it unfolds in surprisingly charming ways that most American movies don't.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes life grand -- the things we buy or the people around us? Why do so many people get caught up in the former? What messages does the media send about materialism and "must have" products? Why does RV live only for the day? Is there value in this way of thinking? Or are Radhika's more practical, save-for-tomorrow ways better? How can you strike a happy medium? Families can also discuss Bollywood movies in general. What characteristics do most Bollywood movies share? How are they different from American movies? How do you think this movie would be different if it had been made in the United States?