Friday, 10 March 2017

Critic’s-Eye View: “Keeping Up With the Kandasamys”

Once again, I find that I am the only blogger who has posted an external review on the IMDb page of a South African film (click here to read it). For those who’d like to hear what others have to say about Keeping Up With the Kandasamys, Jayan Moodley’s 2017 Chatsworth comedic version of Romeo and Juliet, I’ve extracted excerpts from reviews posted by other South African moviegoers and compiled them here, for your perusal.

In a review posted on the Channel24 website last Friday, Gabi Zietsman states:

Keeping Up with the Kandasamys is a lovely stroll through Durban’s famous Indian suburb Chatsworth and the lives of those who live there, even if it might be exaggerated. The two leading ladies, Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker are a dynamite duo and you can’t help but wonder why we haven’t seen them in more movies. …

The disses and clapbacks are pure gold, and these veteran actresses’ comedic timing can make Trevor Noah take notes. Director Jayan Moodley and writer Rory Booth work great as a team and produced an entertaining comedy that will make you scream with laughter. …

Even though the film celebrates Indian culture and identity, the characters remain relatable across all racial and cultural lines, connecting with the audience’s own familial experiences. …

The one thing that failed the movie was the dramatic scenes. When it finally comes out why the two women have been at each other’s throats all these years, the film takes a sudden sombre turn that doesn’t really fit with the first part of the film. The emotions and tears felt like they were being forced through a meat grinder, but luckily it managed to find its way back to the humour for the end, complete with a Bollywood dance number.”

In the Tonight supplement to the newspapers of the Independent News & Media group, Paul Eksteen writes for the film’s release:

“On their shoulders, [Jennifer Kandasamy and Shanti Naidoo] carry the energy, wit and essence of this film, rendering the rest of the cast mere props to be swept up in their tour-de-force. … As the warring couple, Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker don’t so much steal the show as copyright it.

Naidoo, in her tight skirts and pencil heels, is something to behold, even she does look like a fish with feathers all dolled up in the hurly-burly of the famous Bangladesh market. It’s a far, far cry from Aunty Rumba. Naicker’s comic timing keeps the film ticking over. You can tell she’s a sweetheart, but you probably don’t want to mess with her.

Despite the universal, and very rom-com aesthetic of this film, it is likely to find its greatest appeal within the community it celebrates. There, the little quirks that drew so many laughs at the screening I attended will draw the most appreciation. It helps if you’re in on the joke.”

On the site The Bollywood Tempest, in a review posted in the middle of February, Shevaal Singh declares:

“The movie purely shares a true and realistic reflection of two very contrasting families who both live in Chatsworth. It was a pleasure watching a movie about South African Indians where there are no stereotypical characters. … Keeping Up With the Kandasamys is an authentic combination of a neighbourhood rivalry or the ‘modern day Romeo-Juliet’ infused with overbearing mums and tasteful comedy with moments of true emotion and honesty.

Jailoshini Naidoo is by far one of the finest South African actors of our time; she has the ability to make you feel her emotions onscreen … There are moments of deep emotion where both leading ladies will leave you speechless. They share a chemistry that is natural with brilliant comedic timing. …

Madhushan Singh and Mishqah Parthiepal have truly flourished into wonderful actors. They effortlessly represent the current generation of young adults; their portrayal was real, natural, and believable. Ayah, essayed by Mariam Bassa, is a lovable character that many will relate to; she is the typical grandmother who says some of the funniest things with a straight face; her character was superbly written. …

Director Jayan Moodley brought a thoroughly entertaining vision to life. The movie exquisitely showcases the locals of Chatsworth, Howard College UKZN, North Beach, and other parts of Durban. The cinematography was excellent, editing was crisp and clean. The dialogue was well written with the right amount of Durban spice, wit, deep emotion, and rib-tickling comedy. The movie was written by Jayan Moddley and Rory Booth. The music was apt and on point.”

On his blog, KG’s movie rants, in a post put up the day after the film’s release, Kgothatjo Magolego writes:

“Every time I go to the cinema to watch a local film, I’m filled with more and more pride and optimism about South African cinema. … The first point of praise for this film has to be towards the script, which is truly wonderfully written by Jayan Moodley and Rory Booth. It’s funny, well-paced and, most importantly, authentic. It’s great to see South African films telling South African stories in a South African way. This film isn’t trying to emulate Hollywood or plagiarise the style of American films; it’s 100% local and told with the insight and perspective that only a South African could understand. …

Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker are at the heart of the majority of this film’s humour. The two perfectly portray the roles of feuding matriarchs and the clashes between their respective characters’ different styles is hilarious to watch. Naidoo and Naicker have fantastic chemistry and whether they’re at each other’s throats or secretly becoming friends, it’s fantastic to watch. …

The film, while funny, is disappointingly unable to avoid being formulaic and predictable. The premise of meddling parents feels familiar, though I can’t tell you exactly where I’ve seen it before, and you can accurately predict exactly how the film’s plot is going to unfold. Luckily for this film, it’s funny enough and has enough entertaining performances to keep it from feeling stale.”

I foolishly discarded the Lifestyle Magazine review of the film that appeared in Sunday’s Sunday Times. I’d be happy to feature any other reviews of the film here.

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