Crazy rich asians
I was drawn to watch the movie by its title, and then enthralled by its content. A thoroughly enjoyable film that I would not mind viewing again.
The plot is nothing new, boy meets girl, then girl meets boy’s otiborolok family (he is no doubt Director with a group of industries) and then of course a tamasha ensues.
The boy is (unquestioningly) genetically endowed with the acumen to handle the large fortune, but he is not bestowed with the perspicacity to choose a spouse.
So, whether it is Singapore over New York, dim sum and satay over burger and hot dog, banana over coconut, nouveau riche over khandaan, l will my take my cue from Austen.
As it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife, it is also a truth, however not that universally acknowledged, that many around the single man in possession of the large fortune, must feel the need to choose his wife or be his wife.
And keeping Austen in mind, what better way to examine the dynamics of all the characters in the movie- the clever hardworking girl, the borolok boy, his mother, his grandmother, his financially related male cousins, his female relatives, his past and potential love interests, and her family and friends, than through the lens of Game Theory, which is introduced at the very onset of the film.
There are two players. One is the borolok side, headed by the boy’s mother, and including most of his family and friends who undoubtedly sincerely love him for himself, despite them continuously discussing his money and inheritance, simply because they are all of the same tribe.That justifies them directly and indirectly accusing the girl of being a ‘gold digger’, even when she embarked on a relationship with him, completely unaware of his real identity.
This borolok side employs all the usual lines of attack: the contempt for girl’s impecunious circumstances, the unmasking of her chalaaki, the revelations of her deceptions, the extent of her greed, etc, etc, because their two-pronged game plan is to firstly create doubt in his mind as to what her hidden intentions might be and whether she will make a suitable wife, and secondly, to shame her into retiring from the game.
The second player is the girl, aided and abetted by her non borolok friends and a handful of defectors from the borolok side. When she realises she has been drawn into the game, she either has to formulate and implement effective offensive or defensive strategies to remain in it, or she has the option to withdraw. Her love for him is genuine, but unlike her opponent(s), she has to prove it to him, by being with him, or to herself and his tribe, by letting him go.
The borolok boy? He is not a player? Na, na, he is the scion, hence the reason for the game, and he is the winner’s trophy.
So, who wins? Please watch the movie.
Crazy Rich Asians proves to be not only a visual delight of product placement and lavish lifestyles, but also a thoughtful account of hypocrisy and identity, and with the element of game theory, the ‘Asians are always good at maths’ narrative is satisfied too.
Intertwined with humour and wit, the plot simultaneously illustrates the thesis that love conquers all, and its antithesis, that it does not. Love certainly wins, but not without strategy.
Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur.