Get a Life, Alright! (PG, 75 minutes)
Years back, when I was studying and looking to build up a portfolio of published writing by penning pieces for my university paper, I agreed to cover a Hi-5 concert.
Hi-5 were and are a brilliant concept, handsome and beautiful twenty-somethings singing educational songs about counting and colours and sharing and imagination.
The songs were banging; I actually ended up adding one or two songs to my iPod jogging playlist, though I kept that to myself.
In Sydney director Joy Hopwood's third feature film, the Get A Life, Alright! of the film's title is the name of a fictional though familiar children's television program with aesthetically lovely 20-somethings singing and dancing songs about peace and harmony.
The cast of the show include Sarah Chen (Aileen Huynh), Tessa Wise (Abril Tolnay) and Tom Reeves (Paul Hughes). We come to understand the fictional show has a big fan base and the stars have a chequered history with intrusive paparazzi, the worst of whom is the local snapper Patrick Pappas (Danny Barton).
Satish Kala plays Nick Singh, an aspiring actor who spends his day delivering flowers and his nights working at his father's Indian restaurant.
When Nick gets a flower delivery for the Get A Life Alright! set, he talks his way onto the production floor where he meets the cast.
Something of a prima donna, Tom takes a dislike to Nick and gives him a hard time, but the girls Sarah and Tessa take a shine to the delivery boy and chat him up.
In their conversation, Nick slips the name of his father's Indian restaurant, and the girls make a booking for dinner.
The Indian community will appreciate seeing these young actors getting their first onscreen roles and telling stories that relate to their experiences.
The restaurant has seen better days, and Nick's brother Adarsh (Dilshan Rain) is on his case to give up the acting auditions and to put more effort into the family business.
Adarsh sees the arrival of the two television stars as a marketing opportunity and he tips off the paparazzi who arrive to ruin dinner, but make the restaurant internet-famous.
The experience isn't bad enough to ruin the growing friendship between Nick and Tessa, and she helps him join the cast of the show, but when a misunderstanding breaks them up Nick takes off to India for a Bollywood opportunity.
The joyous Crazy Rich Asians proved cinematic audiences were interested in paying for a romantic comedy led by a diverse cast, and Sydney-based producer-director Joy Hopwood teamed up with Canberra writer Shamini Singhal to pen the screenplay for this light romance with a Bollywood flavour.
For me, the children's television-inspired music is the highlight of the film. Produced by Paul Wiltshire who worked on 90s acts like Human Nature, Delta Goodrem and Vanessa Amorosi, with lyrics by Joy Hopwood and Roy Nicholson, the team are going for late 90s dance music meets educational television. They allow the numbers to play out in full, with authentically stilted era choreography and props.
When the action moves to India, Nick's Bollywood song with actress Aanya (Dilroop Khangura) is a real banger and I'd certainly have added to my iPod Nano playlist.
Representation is important in our popular culture, and on our screens, and so particularly the Indian community will appreciate seeing these young actors getting their first onscreen roles and telling stories that relate to their experiences.
This film is only enjoying a limited initial season, so if you want to put your money towards supporting new Australian talent giving it a go, be quick!
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