Last year, I had watched the sequel, and today I saw the first movie in the series: Keeping Up with the Kandasamys (2017). It covers what happened before the marriage of the children of the neighbours. This is a simple movie, warm and the characters are highly relatable, I liked it, so I am giving it a Ripe rating.

The Naidoos (note the spelling different from what’s used in Tamil Nadu), and Kandasamys are neighbours in the Indian neighbourhood of Chatsworth, a suburb of Durban in South Africa. Naidoos have two sons, Prishen, the elder one, is doing his final year in medical college. The Kandasamys’ who are wealthier than the Naidoos, have one daughter, Jodi who is also studying in the same college. The two mothers, Shanti Naidoo and Jennifer Kandasamy discover Prishen and Jodi are in love with each other, because of their past animosity in their teens, they disapprove of the relationship of their children and secretly plot to derail it. Did they succeed?

Maeshni Naicker as Shanti Naidoo and Jailoshini Naidoo as Jennifer Kandasamy have lived their individual characters. The two mothers have a frenemy relationship between them, but deep beneath they are friends but with opposite personalities and likes and the actors have managed to bring it out. The mother’s love and its ability to do anything, both good and bad, for their kids – was the underlying theme in the film. I liked the way, the husbands handle the same issue between them – some may see this differently, of stereotyping women and glorifying men within a family set up – this is a comedy film so that may not have been the intention of the writers. Mariam Bassa as the grandmother to the children has played her role effortlessly. In many of these family stories, though the grandma characters get little time, they leave us impressed, this may be due to the love of the writers towards their own grandmas.

In the end credit roll, Shanti Naidoo delivers a line about Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal, being a forced settlement by the Government – curious, I googled and discovered that the then apartheid government of South Africa, had passed laws in the 1940s to designate individual areas for the different races to live in, with Indians assigned to Chatsworth, Dublin.

Madhushan Singh as Prishen and Mishqah Parthiephal as Jodi

Madhushan Singh as Prishen and Mishqah Parthiephal as Jodi

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