Netflix’s new Valentine’s Day release “Namaste Wahala” attempts a refreshing take on interracial romance in this Nollywood-meets-Bollywood movie. However, reminiscent of the typical Indian movies from the early ‘90s, the movie is overly dramatic and exaggerated in several scenes.
“Namaste Wahala” is the love story of an Indian guy and a Nigerian girl, and how their families and cultural differences get in the way of their romance. When Raj (Ruslaan Mumtaz) and Didi (Ini Dima Okojie) meet in Nigeria, it is love at first sight for both of them, but Raj takes it to the next level and decides that Didi is the girl he is going to marry. From there, the relationship progresses rather quickly and Didi finds herself reluctantly introducing Raj to her conservative parents, Ernest (Richard Mofe-Damijo) and Shola (Joke Silva). Without being prepped or given any indication that he is not Nigerian, Didi’s parents are shocked when they meet Raj and refuse to accept him as their future son-in-law.
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To make matters more dramatic, Raj’s mom shows up from India unannounced. A no-filter Punjabi woman, Meera (Sujata Sehgal) doesn’t hold back in showing her disappointment when she meets Didi and is concerned that she cannot cook chole bhature for her son.
Besides the main story, there are a couple of sub-plots around an NGO helping abuse victims and the patriarchal culture of Nigeria, surprisingly not different from what is seen in India. With Didi trying to juggle between rebelling against her dad, standing up for an abuse victim, and fighting to save her relationship with Raj, the movie gets loud and overbearing. The excessively dramatic background music will remind you of Indian saas-bahu serials, and the poorly scripted dialogues will make you cringe.
For writer, producer, and debutante director Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, “Namaste Wahala” may have been an honest attempt at a new type of romantic drama transcending borders, cultures, and hoping on to the #Blindian bandwagon, but the execution fails. It certainly does pave the way for future attempts that, we hope, will set a higher standard.
Consultant by day and professional dancer on weekends, Neha loves going to the movies and has a not-so-secret crush on Hrithik Roshan!