Once in India, Ashok stays with his cousin Preeti (Shabana Azmi) and her family in Chandigarh. Preeti takes the initiative of introducing Ashok to eligible girls. While he does seem interested in one of them (Diksha Basu), call it a coincidence or fate, he bumps into an American girl (Lethia Nall), who makes him question the compromise he’s about to make. Will he settle down for a better future or be content with the present?
A Decent Arrangement has an interesting premise. A slice-of-life tale, it addresses the issue of identity crisis that plagues most American-born-confused-desis. Ashok represents those who don’t know what they want.
Also, unlike most films that exaggerate and mock the arranged marriage culture, Sarovar Banka manages to keep it real and balanced. He takes an objective look at the age-old system and its relevance to individuals today. Subtle humour is infused smartly into the story, ensuring the film stays light-hearted. We particularly liked the Shabana-Adam banter on ‘how a boy should respond to job enquiries made by his potential in-laws’.
However, the film gets too philosophical and sluggish for your liking eventually. Just because it’s set in India, why should you play a sitar in the background at any given opportunity? Also, random shots of horse carriages and cycle rickshaws running on the streets of Chandigarh get unnecessary footage. Foreigners discussing how they fear contracting malaria and suffering from a case of Delhi belly is sleep-inducing. This cliched treatment makes the film look like an amateurish India-travel video, shot by a tourist.
Though cast in a supporting role, it is Shabana Azmi, who holds the film together with her sheer presence. Adam Laupus is sincere but way too monotonous.
A Decent Arrangement draws inspiration from Nagesh Kukunoor’s much acclaimed Hyderabad Blues but ends up being nothing more than a decent attempt at showing what has already been shown before.
Hoping to get rid of his loneliness and aimlessness back in the United States, Ashok (Adam Laupus), an Indian-American copywriter, comes to India looking for a suitable bride. But is he really ready for an arranged marriage?
The Times of India