“Loins of Punjab Presents,” a witty musical comedy with a sharp political edge, is built on a satisfyingly simple premise. Over the course of a weekend a motley crew of contestants gathers in a New Jersey hotel to compete in “Desi Idol,” an “American Idol”-style singing competition sponsored by a local pork-loin empire.
Is a movie about the fascination for unearthing new singing talent. It’s a take-off on the reality singing shows. But what happens in reality over a period of three months, this Desi Idol show (to find a South-Asian winner in America), takes place over the weekend in a hotel -- auditions as well as the finals.
The songs come from Bollywood, with the contestants drawn, for the most part, from the area’s South Asian immigrant community, the exception being a certain Josh Cohen (Michael Raimondi), lover of Indian culture (and of a girl from Mumbai) who dreams of starting a “joga” craze (jogging plus yoga).
The droll, affable cast includes a shy, pretty girl (Ishitta Sharma) with a domineering family; a Machiavellian socialite (Shabana Azmi); a struggling actress (Seema Rahmani) who, like Margaret Cho, is deemed “not Asian enough” by casting directors; and a politicized, would-be bhangra rapper who calls himself the Turbanotorious BDG (Ajay Naidu) and shows up with tons of attitude and a hot male lover (Kory Bassett).
Directed with a cheerful touch by Manish Acharya from a warm, insightful screenplay he wrote with Anuvab Pal, “Loins of Punjab” joins show-time antics to sociocultural commentary without reducing its characters, colorful as they are, to cartoons.
This is not a movie about super stars and big banners. This is not a movie that has spent big bucks on production and promotion. This is a simple movie which one immediately warms up to.
You go in with no expectations, but come out applauding the entire cast and crew. It’s a pity though that it has only one show in most multiplexes.
Will the event manager Sudarsh Bokade played by Jameel Khan do something about this!