Movie: "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" opens
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Opening March 6, 2015 at
Following 2012’s global blockbuster comedy hit, the loveable cast reunites for the much-awaited follow-up THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL which releases in North American theaters just in time for Holi. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey and the rest of the gang are back together along with Richard Gere who joins the fun for an all-new adventure set in India. Director John Madden, whose hit Shakespeare in Love won the Best Picture Oscar, returns as well.
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Release Date: March 6, 2015
Director: John Madden
Cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey and Richard Gere
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself.
Breezy Comedy-Sequel Will Warm Anglophiles and Seniors
By Raj S. Rangarajan, independent art and film writer
Sonny Kapoor’s famous last words: “Everything will be right in the end; and of its not all right, it’s not yet the end.”
With The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Marigold I) almost full up with its long-term residents such as Evelyn (Judi Dench), Douglas (Bill Nighy), Carol (Diana Hardcastle), Norman (Ronald Pickup), Madge (Celia Imrie), Jean (Penelope Wilton), co-managers Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) and Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) think of expansion for the hotel and in that journey they travel to California for a potential franchise.
All the above-mentioned actors are of British origin but soon enters an American, Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) in the delightful sequel – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (earlier film was released in 2012). Guy is working on a novel, reportedly, and soon makes his suave move on Sonny’s mother, Mrs. Kapoor (Lillette Dubey), elegantly draped in an exquisite sari.
Dubey is a renowned success in theater and films with more than 40 Bollywood feature films to her credit. Says Lillete, “the film went into the ‘sunset years zone’ effortlessly and in a joyous way proclaiming, “hello, you may be 60 or 70, but life never stops surprising, unless you let it.’”
In Marigold I, Evelyn arrived, newly widowed and uncertain about the future, but now in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Marigold II), she adores India and is in a position to decide if she wants to be part of a textile business in Jaipur.
Sonny and Muriel are an odd couple in that Muriel, a reluctant approver of the idea of settling down in India in Marigold I, finds herself in Marigold II at the centre of a family she never had. As co-manager she finds her peaceful niche while Sonny brings unique strengths to the partnership.
The ever-ebullient and somewhat confused Sonny is all over the hotel constantly saying the wrong things, but this supreme quality endears him to all the guests save Sunaina (Tina Desai) who has a hard time figuring out her fiancé. In the earlier film Sunaina was at a call center where she trained Evelyn.
One senses intrigue when Sonny articulates his concern about the elusive hotel inspector – is it Guy or Lavinia (played by Tamsin Greig), the other new guest? Sonny’s stress is not helped any with Kushal (played by Shazad Latif, who starred as Spooks in the BBC TV series) threatening his relationship with Sunaina and his business venture.
John Madden, who directed Shakespeare in Love (1998) is in his directorial best here. To a question, Madden responded, “I would rather call this a Shakespearean melancholy comedy rather than a romantic comedy since some of the seniors here were yet in the process of resolving their emotional issues.”
While certain scenes were predictable – being a sequel – Ol Parker’s screenplay, based on Deborah Moggach’s novel about a retirement home in India is spot on. Bollywood touches are unmistakable with western and Indian costumes blending seamlessly. To a question about how she handled the dance numbers specially since she had never danced before in a movie, Tina, averred, “I was initially quite shy, but with more rehearsals, it transformed into a learning experience.”
Director of Photography, Ben Smithard discloses, this “film has a kinetic energy that flows from the hero Sonny, and with all the parties and the wedding, we have a lot of set pieces that were a big, but enjoyable challenge.” Martin Childs, the production designer has brought to pulsating life the colorful city of Ravla Khempur (mostly shot in Jaipur) jammed with “tuk-tuk” taxis, bikes, trucks and animals that make walking and driving more than a chore – a challenge of sorts.
A word about the movers of this trans-cultural film: the unsung translators. Babu, the understanding driver who helps Madge decide which wealthy Maharaja-suitor was right for her when she reaches a dead end, figuratively, and Hari, the interpreter and Evelyn’s business partner, who with his homespun brand of philosophy about India, helps Evelyn nail the Mumbai textile deal.
In a tired moment when seniors Evelyn and Muriel are alone, the former – younger than Muriel by 19 days in the movie – says, “sometimes it seems to me the difference between what we want and what we fear is a whit of an eyelash.” Douglas couldn’t agree more. He never gives up wooing Evelyn all through the film and happy as a lark, sums it all up: “The wedding sequence makes for a beautiful finale which gave us a chance to do some quite ironic things with the characters and give a nod to Bollywood.”
The younger set is epitomized by Sunaina and Sonny, with his professional archrival, Kushal. Choreographer Longinus Fernandes, who worked on Slumdog Millionaire, outclassed himself with the techno song – “JBJ” from the hit song, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.
Whatever your age or background, and wherever you grew up, the Second Exotic Marigold has a certain “feel-good” radiance.