A review of the Roshan Seth and Sendhil Ramamurthy starrer about the complex relationship between a father and son.
Director: Mahesh Pailoor Starring: Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth, Cassidy Freeman, Preeti Sharma, Justin Bartha, Mary Steenburgen, Michael Lerner, George Newbern)
For me, personally, the highlight of CSAFF was “Brahmin Bulls,” which is a cross-generational crowd pleaser on many levels. The film featured one of my favorite actors, Roshan Seth (Gandhi, A Passage to India, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) along with a tremendous cast led by Chicago’s own Sendhil Ramamurthy and the familiar faces of Justin Bartha (the National Treasure series, the Hangover series, and New York, I Love You), Mary Steenburgen (Back to the Future III, Philadelphia, Ragtime, Melvin and Howard), Michael Lerner (Barton Fink, Eight Men Out), and George Newburn (Father of the Bride, Scandal).
The film takes a very realistic look at the family dynamics between an Indian father and son without delving into some of the typical stereotypes that would normally appear in such a story. The legendary Seth delivers yet another quality performance filled with intelligence, sophistication, subtlety, and heart. It is refreshing to see Seth’s character written and portrayed without the need for bad accents or a more traditional immigrant backstory. Ramamurthy is able to hold his own with Seth in every scene and delivers a high quality performance filled with warmth and depth. It is refreshing to see Ramamurthy’s character reflect a realistic modern portrayal of an Indian individual of his generation. The biggest surprise of the film for me was the high-profile supporting cast and the ease with which these stars fit the story without overshadowing it. Justin Bartha is believable as Ramamurthy’s close friend and colleague. (On a side note, if you haven’t had the chance, I recommend you see the indie film “New York, I Love you,” which counts Bartha amongst its star studded cast.) Steenburgen is also very natural and believable as Seth’s love interest. “Brahmin Bulls” does a good job of reflecting back to its audience a depiction of society that is both imperfect and relatable. One where the audience can say to themselves as they’re watching the film, “I have friends like that…I have relationships like that…I’ve had experiences like that.”
The film is not perfect, of course. As within anything in life, there is always an area for improvement, and you too may have minor critiques of this film as well, when you watch it. During the screening I found myself wishing that certain scenes and conversations were portrayed differently, and wishing other plotlines were developed a bit more. For example, in my opinion, the tennis scene with Ramamurthy and Seth detracted from the central conflict between the two characters. The climactic scene between the pair in the kitchen more than makes up for that, however. Additionally, it would have been nice if the relationship between Ramamurthy’s character Sid and his ex-wife Ellie (portrayed by Cassidy Freeman) was further developed. The chemistry between the pair also seemed a bit lacking given the emotional bond the story presumes for them. Finally, the scenes between Steenburgen and Ramamurthy probably should have exhibited a little more awkward tension and angst than they did.
All told, “Brahmin Bulls” is a complete film: well-acted, well-cast, and well-directed. I for one hope its gets a broader release so more audiences have the opportunity to enjoy it, as I did. If you enjoy complicated yet entertaining films exploring family dynamics such as: “It’s Complicated” (Comedy), “The Namesake” (Drama), “The Substance of Fire” (Drama), you’ll enjoy “Brahmin Bulls.”
I rate the film an 8.5 out of 10.
Author: Parag Parikh has over 15 years experience in entertainment marketing and strategy as well as litigation strategy and forensic financial analysis. Parag is a regular contributor of Entertainment content on Sava360.com and groundsounds.com.
More on this film: BB trailer and website: http://brahminbulls.com/trailer For news and updates: https://www.facebook.com/brahminbulls The Village Voice today: http://www.villagevoice.com/2014-11-12/film/brahmin-bulls/