A Nice Indian Boy (2024)


A Nice Indian Boy Review

After a white photographer raised by Indian parents proposes to an Indian-American doctor, the latter is challenged with the task of introducing him to his traditional family.

Jay comes out of the theater after DDLJ and tries to explain why Bollywood movies are so good at making us cry. “I think we’re all embarrassed by the bigness of love,” he says. On their way home, Naveen tells his work bestie that Jay’s speech was kind of weird but also really sweet.

But because A Nice Indian Boy is a rom-com (and because this one’s called A Nice Indian Boy), Naveen does come around. The movie loves public spectacle and grand gestures so much it starts and ends with weddings. But where it excels is in recognizing that epic shows of romance are built on messy feelings, smaller acts and platonic and familial bonds. By the end, even someone who doesn’t necessarily consider themselves sentimental — like Naveen, or me — will likely be won over by its modest but undeniable charms.

A Nice Indian Boy gets boy-meets-boy out of the way early. In act 1, scene 3 (or something; I’m not sure how many scenes there were), shy Indian-American doctor Naveen (Karan Soni) meets confident photographer Jay (Jonathan Groff) at a Hindu temple, and they start dating. By act 2, scene 4 (or something else; again, not sure), they’re engaged — yes, if you’re doing the math at home that leaves only three acts for everything else to happen in — but if you’re worried that might mean things are moving too fast: You’re right!

Most of their relationship happens offscreen during a montage set to music (it covers some unspecified amount of time). And throughout the film’s tight focus on Naveen’s experience, Jay can’t help but seem short-changed as a character — he often feels like an ideal for Naveen to catch up to rather than a fully realized person in his own right.

But what we’re shown is enough to make Naveen and Jay feel like a real couple. Soni and Groff have warm, relaxed chemistry together, which is helped along by Eric Randall’s efficient script (adapted from the play by Madhuri Shekar) and Roshan Sethi’s occasional stylistic flourishes that give their courtship an almost fairy-tale quality. You get the sense that these two are crazy about each other from their first date, because otherwise there’d be no reason for Naveen to stick around after Jay embarrasses him by bursting into song in the middle of the street, or for Jay to lean in closer as Naveen rambles on and on about the parking structure at his job.

And so it’s a testament to those performances — but also to the movie’s attention to detail — that even if you’ve noticed everything I just told you is true, which means you’ve probably already guessed how things end up, watching A Nice Indian Boy still feels worthwhile.

To maintain A Nice Indian Boy’s will-they-won’t-they sentiment, the relationship between Jay and Naveen needs to be strong in its own right. This is because there is no family for Jay and the only family he has is with Naveen’s who doesn’t know what to think of this “white orphan artist.” He has been out to his family for years but still they have not, as he says it “ever seen me be gay.” When Megha (Zarna Garg), his mother calls him at work she might recount the entire plot of Milk, but neither her nor father Archit (Harish Patel) would ever dare ask anything about his personal life — which bugs married sister Arundhathi (Sunita Mani), who gets nothing except invasive questions regarding if she’s pregnant yet. For all that Naveen tells them dating history was none of their business either, never mind bringing home a boyfriend until now when engagement forces him into this situation with them.

But beneath A Nice Indian Boy’s Meet the Parents gags lurk aching fear and genuine hurt. “He didn’t tell his family about me, so it’s like I don’t exist,” laments Jay to friends after an early fight. However, it hardly seems better how Naveen does eventually introduce Jay: terrified of letting parents down altogether by coming out as engaged guy or being queer artist more so than usual around them; hence asks Jay instead acting slightly different manner than usual but still closer my parents’ expectation level without hurting your feelings too much also tries make jays vape thing sound less bad and my art sound less gay.

On another hand though archit and megha were having hard time understanding naveens choices or even believing that he feels entitled enough to be making any kind of decision at all when they didn’t get chance themselves back then. Like one day navi finally musters up courage talk dad about not caring enough for son’s wedding; but all he gets is “you know what my dad allowed during our marriage? nothing.” There’s bitterness in voice which indicates some old scars may have healed over, but never really gone away.

However, these are built on real love that is shown in countless ways both grand and small. It may be expressed through deeds as insignificant as when Archit takes a hot water bottle to Megha on a cold night or when he incorporates Jay’s suggestions into his reliable korma recipe as well as when Naveen and Arundhathi share coffee the next morning following an intense argument. Love flows from buddies who take a guy out for a wild night on the town after a devastating breakup and relatives who come ready to celebrate somebody else’s marriage even while wrestling with their own romantic letdowns.

And it can burst forth in song or dance, of course, or dazzle with razzmatazz. A Nice Indian Boy doesn’t exactly convey how big love can get — it is too earthbound, too scrappy for Jay’s liking when it comes to those extravagant gestures he admires so much in movies. But it does justice to how full it can make life seem.

Watch A Nice Indian Boy For Free On Gomovies.

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