Miss India movie review: Keerthy Suresh’s film on Netflix India is astoundingly bland
Extolling the virtues of Indian chai is one thing, but in that process, Miss India does not quite humanise the story, and even when it does, it does not capitalise on that. It is too confused about what it wants to say or rather, serve.
In Narendra Nath’s Miss India, a young girl makes it a point to tell everyone what her name and aim in life is — She is Manasa Samyuktha, and her aim is to start a business after she finishes her MBA. This, she decides, is her goal in life when her father refuses to acknowledge her grades in school because she does not have a goal. Perhaps, the girl is not even 10 years old at this point of time. The pressure is immense, but not atypical. By the time she is in her early 20s, even after moving to San Francisco, she still tells people her name is Manasa Samyuktha (not Manasa or Samyuktha), and that she wants to start a business soon. Now, everyone around her reminds her that she is a woman, and that business is not her cup of tea. But Manasa Samyuktha makes her stand clear — “Coffee is not her cup of tea.” ‘
And thus begins the ordeal which is so silly, boring, and bland that there are better chances of you learning all about tea by the time this film comes to an end.
The story is built around a core idea, where a female entrepreneur faces sexism, and surpasses expectations and conservative mindsets to achieve her dreams. But with each layer that writers Nath and Tharun add to this brew, it just weakens everything that it wants to say. In the beginning, we are told that Manasa Samyuktha is from a middle-class family in Lambasingi, near Araku (Andhra Pradesh). Her grandfather is an Ayurvedic doctor, whose special concoction mixed with all sorts of spices (tea) cures all sorts of illnesses. But when tragedy strikes the family, Manasa’s elder brother takes over the family responsibility. Thanks to his job, the family moves to San Francisco, where, for some reason, they manage to move into a villa, of sorts. Clearly, the young techie is doing well for himself and earning a good pay-check. But wait… the tea is still brewing.
One of the reasons why the film does not quite engage you, right from the beginning, is because it feels like characters have moved from Lambasingi to Hyderabad, and not San Francisco. There is even a dialogue where Manasa’s mother (Nadhiya) tells her, “Don’t forget that we are from a middle class family, and both you and your brother need to earn to run the family”. It makes you wonder if no one reminded her that they are living in a different country now, and her son must be earning well enough now. There is hardly a clash of cultures, so to speak. For that matter, the whole family needs a crash course in adjusting to a new life in a new country.