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Two men venture through India and give us stunning views, but sadly no culture.
Review (with Spoilers)
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to see this film by the film studio handling distribution, Manana Films and what hooked me was the trailer. Seeing the stunning landscape of India, as well as believing that the history behind some of the places would be given hooked me in. And with that said, let’s talk about this movie.
Characters & Story
The film focuses on Team US/ Canada composed of Rick, a Chicago realtor, and Keith, a Canadian Chef. These two men are the kind of people who have a thirst for adventure and found India to be the destination to satisfy this thirst. However, their adventure isn’t some simple visit to one tourist trap in which they experience Indian cuisine and culture. No, instead they decide to participate in a multinational 2000 kilometer race throughout India on something called a rickshaw, which basically is a 7 horsepower, dressed up, motorbike.
But, despite breaking down multiple times, Rick and Keith’s rickshaw takes us through India and gives us a taste of their various cities. Each one filled with culture, traditions, and mostly friendly faces. Thus giving any viewer an almost Google Maps quality adventure.
The biggest bit of praise I can bestow onto the film is that you feel like you see so much of the country, despite them hitting less than a dozen cities or towns. This is because everything is in this tiny rickshaw and the camera seems focused on capturing more than just Rick and Keith, but almost make it so that you can be immersed in the surroundings as best as your viewing screen allows.
However, one unfortunate thing I must say about this film is that, due to the race, you hardly learn anything about the various cultures within India. In fact, a lot of the times you aren’t fully sure where Keith and Rick are and aren’t given a proper means to identify a place. You just get a large white title over the video telling you what town or city they are near and, due to time constraints, we watch as they, usually, just drive by everything. This includes a ceremony which looked rather interesting, but we are given nothing but visuals for. Then, on top of the fact we get visuals but no depth, unfortunately, there are 0 subtitles put into the post-production so we can know what is being said to Keith & Rick, which I assume was done since neither are fluent in Hindi. Lastly, though perhaps this is a little nit-picky, both men do seem a little culturally insensitive sometimes and this does make you feel like they more see India as a place of adventure, as if it is some type of wilderness jungle, than a country with a rich cultural history.
Overall: Worth a Rental
For me, the big issue of the movie comes from its lack of depth when it comes to Indian culture. Outside of that, it does present enough to intrigue you and make you want to do your own research and maybe visit the country. Hence why I say this is worth a rental. It may be an adventure documentary, but the narrative for the adventure isn’t on the level in which the story really captures you, and the documentary aspect is only strong in terms of the camera capturing images, and not necessarily cultures or lives.