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An Australian film critic described Indian starring former pacer Brett Lee as a “Bollywood goes bogan car crash” but when UnIndian opened on screens across India this week it was generally got positive reviews.
‘The breezy love story is realistic and so is the spontaneous humour’ wrote a critic in the Times of India. ‘Brett Lee, the former cricketer-turned-actor, is surprisingly a natural on camera.’
Even a review in the Hindustan Times, which said the film’s plot as being ‘lazily drafted, clichéd and poppadum-thin, with one dimensional and stereotypical characters’, praised Lee’s acting abilities.
‘On the performance front, fast bowler Brett Lee is a pleasant surprise,’ the review said. ‘He portrays Will with the natural flair of an actor. He endears you by being transparent with his emotions.’
The film, an Australian Indian co-production, is a romantic comedy set in Sydney in which Lee plays Will Henderson, who teaches Aussie English to migrants.
He falls in love with single mum Meera, played by Indian actor, Tannishtha Chatterjee. Meera’s parents are looking for a good match for their daughter and have their eyes on an Australian-Indian cardiologist. The film that audiences are watching in India is slightly different from the one released in Australia last year. India’s censors insisted the sex scene be toned down and shortened.
UnIndian’s director Anupam Sharma was not happy with the decision and reminded journalists that India gave the world the Karma Sutra.
Lee avoided being drawn into the censorship debate during an interview to promote the film, although he did admit to feeling nervous about doing the sex scene. His co-star’s acting experience, he said, helped him deal with his nerves. “There was this nervous energy, but we got through it. She kept stirring me and going ‘15 minutes ‘til the big scene.’”
Lee was one of the fastest bowlers in the history of cricket, which made him hugely popular in cricket-mad India, and since his retirement he has used his fame to build a successful career on the subcontinent – in advertising and as a commentator. – CINEWS