Whether a matter of bad luck or poor planning, it’s unfortunate that Married 2 America debuted in India a month before Kahaani (and released two months after Kahaani in the U.S.). Both movies share a remarkably similar premise, and since Kahaani is probably the best Hindi movie of 2012 so far, Married 2 America looks terrible by comparison.
But even without the high bar set by Kahaani, Married 2 America would still be a snoozefest. It feels more like an extended episode of a soap opera than an event worthy of the big screen.
Married 2 America — an utterly meaningless title — opens with scenes of a tragic dam collapse in India. A torrent of water decimates a model village straight from the set of a 1950s Godzilla movie. Small kudos to the special effects department for using real miniatures and not bad CGI effects, at least not until another laughable flood scene later in the movie.
Fast forward two weeks to the New Jersey home of unhappily married couple Ravi (Chetan Pandit) and Anjali (Archana Joglekar). Ravi is consumed by his work, though he won’t tell Anjali what the problem is as he rebuffs her romantic overtures. He acts like a jerk to her, then leaves for India without so much as a hug good-bye.
After no contact from her husband for almost four months, Anjali finally seeks answers from the American architectural firm Ravi works for. His inexplicably British boss Mr. Jason tells Anjali that Ravi probably abandoned the marriage because, “As a wife, you were too perfect.”
Anjali goes to India herself where she learns that Ravi built the dam that collapsed in the opening scenes. The tragedy claimed the lives of hundreds of people and left thousands more homeless. There are plenty of people who might want Ravi dead, especially if the collapse wasn’t an accident.
Let me jump back to Anjali’s visit to the architectural firm. It’s revealed early on that Ravi goes missing after uncovering evidence of a conspiracy. He never tells his company about it, so it’s not as though Mr. Jason has any reason to cover up Ravi’s disappearance. Mr. Jason is just mean to Anjali for no reason and apparently unconcerned that one of his star employees has flown the coop.
The story drags on forever as Ravi and Anjali are separately kidnapped by two different mafia dons, only to both escape on the same night in attempts to free each other, only to then be captured by the don who formerly held his or her spouse. Married 2 America has a two-and-a-half hour runtime because of nonsense like this.
The acting is uniformly terrible. Many of the supporting cast sound as though they’re reading from cue cards. Pandit and Joglekar sleepwalk their way through the film with dead-behind-the-eyes performances. Ravi’s televised speech in which he belatedly admits to sort-of loving Anjali is particularly cringe-worthy.
Since none of the actors are up to emoting, the corny soundtrack goes overboard with emotional cues. It adds to the melodramatic and soapy feel of the movie. The song montages featuring Anjali looking forlorn are a joke.
Skip Married 2 America and watch Kahaani instead.