A text by Ananda Devi cannot but make us “think”. Sharvan got the best out of the text and from the actors
We had the opportunity of viewing Sharvan Anenden’s The Comeback, on Friday 15 February, at MCine, Trianon.
A comedy that makes you smile, lift an eyebrow, that makes you laugh – once or twice – and reflect.
There are some superb shots of the Mauritian scenery, complete with golden beaches, blue lagoons and even bluer skies. But above all it is the story of the aging actors which engages us. A reflection on the fleeting, volatile fame of the world of cinema.
Three Bollywood actors, past their prime, plan a comeback. Rejected and dejected by repeated refusals from producers, they finally might be given an opportunity by the producer with the cheerful smile. On one condition: they need to find a Superstar willing to give them that break.
They do have one in mind. But how to convince him?
The story unfolds, and takes one by surprise.
This is a fun-filled take on multi-cultural Mauritius. Pagodas, temples, churches bustle around, with lovely little winks and puns at what we now, spontaneously and unthinkingly, call Bollywood.
Song and dance numbers which, famously, appear at the snap of a finger, could not fail to be part of the adventure.
The script is full of allusions and references to some of the tropes of action movies the world over.
There is a passing allusion to the classic film, Mother India, and a more obvious take on the stage sequence of the deliciously funny 1980’s Jaanebhi do yaaro.
Personally, I enjoyed looking out for the gentle irony with which Bollywood tropes – including death scenes, preposterous slaps on the face, even more preposterously situated song and dance sequences – lace the narrative.
Some favourite shots of mine: The Scotland Yard inspector, ready to give an expert helping hand to the Mauritius Police for “Queen and Country”, under the very noses our (former) President and Prime Minister.
The actors, main roles and bit parts alike, display a naturalness which tells a long story of how far Mauritius has travelled from the early days of our cinema. That too in the English language. Robert Furlong, Gaston Valayden, Palmesh Cutaree, Nalini Aubeeluck, Edeen Bhugeloo are great. But so are the gardener who sells his derelict van, the producer with the smile…
A text by Ananda Devi cannot but make us “think”. Sharvan got the best out of the text and from the actors.
There is a question though. The film is in English, sub-titled in French. It may be dubbed into Hindi as well. The question is: Is there a specific audience to whom this movie is addressed?
Mauritians will certainly find much that strikes a familiar chord. The film is well worth seeing.
* Published in print edition on 22 February 2019