Bazodee: The Movie Review
  Vedesh Nath
September 2016


Release Date: 14th September 2016

Cinemas: Movie Towne (Port of Spain, Chaguanas, Tobago), Caribbean Cinemas (Trincity, San Fernando), Digicel IMAX (Port of Spain)

Main Cast: Machel Montano, Natalie Perera, Kabir Bedi, Teneille Newallo, Staz Nair, Valmike Rampersad, Chris Paul Smith, Rahul Nath

Genre: Romance, Musical, Drama

Rating: PG – contains Adult Language and Adult Situations

Running Time: 101 mins.

Bazodee has finally landed in Trinidad and Tobago, a month after its premiere in the United States. Showing to full houses since its mid-September release, Bazodee is without a doubt the most commercially successful locally-filmed movie since Mudassir Aziz’s 2010 Bollywood venture Dulha Mil Gaya.

Packed with a cast of both local and international actors and celebrities – from Trinidad’s own Machel Montano to Bollywood veteran Kabir Bedi - Bazodee has, quite commendably, created its own style which comprises of a blend of Bollywood and Trinbagonian cultural dynamics. Indeed, Bazodee showed potential with its effective marketing and probably some of the best cinematography and audiography a local film has had in recent times. (I had to mention audio because I’m so tired of seeing local films where the actors’ diction are inaudible). However the plot falls somewhat flat and Todd Kessler’s skills as a director don’t help in any way.

The plot is simple and probably one you’ve heard, read or seen before. Sunita (Natalie Perera) is promised to Bharat (Staz Nair). However she doesn’t completely love him. This isn’t fully realized by the naive lass until she stumbles onto Lee (Machel Montano.) – a struggling musician stuck between his day job as a constructor and his night gigs. The love story triangulates, forcing Sunita to make a difficult choice.

Claire Ince’s script provides little or no backstory to the characters, and it boils the film down to a horizontal soap opera. Although Ince’s script may be clichéd and predictable, what makes Bazodee a little better than some other recent local films (hint: The Apartment and A Story About Wendy) is that Trinbago culture is at the centre of the film. A J’ouvert celebration, Carnival, Lee sitting in a rum shop writing and performing his ex-tempo and picong-like songs – it’s all very familiar to the Trinbagonian audience and that in itself is a treasure. To see ourselves and our culture on the big-screen for a change is valued. Seeing someone point at the screen when a familiar place or person appears is something that rarely happens when we go to the cinema.

Natalie Perera’s performance is strong and she, arguably, carried the film. She convinces for the most part as the leading lady and managed well with some corny dialogue that made me cringe when articulated. What I liked about this casting choice is that Perera, though British by birth, could easily pass as a Trini. She was relatable – she could be our sister, our friend or someone we know. She wasn’t acting, she was living in the moments and getting deeper and deeper in character as the film progressed. Once Perera continues to work, she will bloom into a fine actress one day.

Machel Montano’s acting on the other hand needs some serious work. I mean let’s agree – when it comes to performing soca, Montano takes the cake. In fact, he has taken several cakes, since he has won many Road March titles. Every time “Water Flowing” or any of his songs came on during the film, I stopped listening to anything the actors were saying and got lost in his lyrics. At times the film felt like a playlist of Montano’s songs – but I didn’t mind as it distracted me from some of the cringe-worthy dialogue. Montano’s acting skills, however, remain amateur and there is little or no truth behind his lines. He is often over-shadowed by some of the performances of the supporting actors – like Teneille Newallo. Newallo (which is a name to note as she is attached to more than one of the films screened at the 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival) does a fine job at playing Poorvi (Sunita’s sidekick) and I would love to see her play juicier roles. Local veterans Eunice Alleyne and Penelope Spencer were robbed with non-speaking roles, but in which they still shined. Perhaps the film would have had a different outcome if they too were given the meatier roles that their talents deserve.

Valmike Rampersad was written the kindest villain in the history of cinema, and his playing of the role didn’t help. The thing is, the audience is supposed to hate a villain and only then would an actor know he has done his job. Ince’s script has provided Rampersad with nothing other than a bratty role that is actually likeable at times.​


Unlike our Trini classics Bim and even the recent God Loves The Fighter, Bazodee may well be easily forgotten in history. With that said, it still is a step in the right direction for local films as producers now have confirmation: Trinbagonians want to see quality local films. It is time we start building our own reputable film industry. We have too many talented people to avoid this calling. Once we continue making our stories into films, who knows, maybe one day local cinemas would rarely need to import film reels.​

Overall Rating: 5.5/10


By: Vedesh Nath | COLUMNS-REVIEWS | September 2016

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