Director: Hamisha Daryani Ahuja
Cast: Ini Dima-Okojie, Rusiaan Mumtaz, Ancee Icha, Koye Kelere Ekun, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, & Sujata Sehgal
* * *
I can’t remember if it was from the Netflix account on Twitter, or someone I follow on Twitter, but that is how I came across this film’s title that was accompanied with an image of this interracial, inter-cultural couple—Nigerian and Indian. I was intrigued, sort of like how I felt when I came across the African film #Citation on Netflix. After watching the trailer for #NamasteWahala, I figured I’d give it a chance due to its charm.
Am I happy or satisfied after watching this film? Eh…nah, not really. I definitely have appreciation for its existence due to the “main storyline,” but the overall plot itself is a little messy. There’s definitely shining moments, but as a package… nah. I mean, I found myself laughing to suppress and mask my disappointment and shock at how bad and all over the place it was…It was very similar to the response/reactions people had/have about Tyler Perry’s #TheOval, or the wigs for his characters, or all of the mistakes that were caught in his #AFallFromGrace… I felt like I wanted to give this cast and team a hug for at least trying and getting the project done—“that was so precious.”
* * *
Below are my grades for key components in #NamasteWahala that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating in my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
* * *
Character Arc/Development: F
Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush
* * *
1. One thing I won’t take away from this film is the acting. Across the board, the actors definitely brought genuine and well delivered performances. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
2. For this to be an alleged “Rom-Com,” that other storyline… … definitely hurt the overall flow of the film. 👀🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
3. Chile…was this a TRL music video moment? Really? AAAABBBSOLUTELY NOT! Granted, I recognized the purpose for the moment, but C’mon… really… … 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
4. One shining moment was Ancee Icha. Although her casting follows a very stereotypical trope, I did enjoy her. 👍🏾
5. To piggyback off points #1 and 4, I just wished many of them could cry on cue… phew, chile…🤦🏾♂️🤷🏾♂️🤣
6. Baby… Raj! YEEEESSSSSS Zaddy! Such a beautiful man! 😍😍😜
7. That “first meet” was so corny… 🤦🏾♂️
8. You know, had the plot been more intentional about weaving in Didi’s “actual” career more vs treating it like tape to hold certain moments together, the side story could have “worked…”🥴🤷🏾♂️
9. O! M! G! The incidental music/effects! There is the one MAIN incidental that was used every time something “dramatic” was done or said… … that had this hollow cannon sound…. I just COOOOOULD NOT! 😩😩😩🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤣
10. Another shining moment, though too long and possibly exaggerated for the comedy, was the introduction to Raj’s “Ma.” Her and that Nigerian were COMEDY! And just seeing the interaction between these 2 cultures in that way just felt good. I appreciated the visual. 👍🏾👍🏾
11. Now I understand “networking,” but HOW was Emma allowed to be at that event doing what he was doing? It really didn’t make sense. 🤨🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
12. My goodness, the DRAMATICS were ASTRONOMICAL! 🤣🤣🤣😩🤦🏾♂️
13. Chile, you wanna talk about gender roles… that “heart-to-heart” between Ma and Leila… 👀😳🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
14. So we just doing random, “African celebrity” cameos? Out of nowhere? 🤨
15. These setups gave me Webseries reality show… CLEARLY they were eating lunch at a hotel by the pool… hell, all the “party/club” scenes were probably shot at a hotel lounge come to think of it… … 👀🤦🏾♂️😩
16. Another shining moment was Emma teaching Raj about culture… it was cute, but it also felt possibly exaggerated/stereotyped—like Black folks and chicken… 🥴👍🏾😅
17. I also enjoyed seeing the scenes where the food of these 2 cultures collided. The food porn was SO real! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
18. The ending credits were really cute, and I felt did a better job at getting the attempted theme across than anything. It made me wish this was more of a behind the scenes documentary about a an Indian woman trying to film a cross-cultural rom-com. 😩🥰
19. I couldn’t take the immediate change in body language and reaction between Ernest and Didi after the “phone call”… chile… 🤦🏾♂️
20. Phew, the subtle yet loud “need for a man” showcased between Didi, Mr. T, and Raj in the hotel. I didn’t like that.🥴
21. Now that “secret admirer” moment was a stretch. I guess she said, “I wrote this, and I’m gonna get a man, too!” 🤣🤣🤣
22. You didn’t think I noticed her breaking character on that bed? 🤦🏾♂️🤣🤣🤣🤣 In sure it was funny in the moment.
* * *
Overall, as already mentioned, #NamasteWahala isn’t good by any means. There’s definitely an appreciation for having a film that showcases this cross-cultural romance, but it missed the mark of what it could have been. For me, the film gives Coming to America meets mishaps of Tyler Perry meets a splash of Monster in Law meets reality television production meets soap opera.