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Stars: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Vijay Raaz, Virendra Saxena, Farrukh Jaffar, Denzel Smith, Brinda Travedi, Sachin Khedekar

Director: Ritesh Batra

The setting is contemporary Mumbai where Siddiqui, having relocated from a poor village in Northern India to try and earn enough money to pay off an old family debit, works as a struggling photographer at one of the city's major tourist attractions.

When he meets shy accounting student Malhotra - who, conveniently, comes from an affluent family - he persuades her to pose as his fiancee when his overhearing grandmother Jaffa arrives for a visit.

If you're seeking suspense, forget it.

Unsurprisingly for lovers of cinematic romance, true love sets in...

The happy ending of writer-director Batra's romantic comedy-drama is never in doubt.

That said, Siddiqui and Malhotra's innate charm and gently convincing performances flesh out characters who, as written could all too easily simply have emerged as genre cliches.

And Jaffar, who warns the couple 'I don't want to be the bone in your kebab', but then carries on to be just that, injects a perfect - and very welcome - touch of narrative acid into what could so easily have become simply cloying.

Batra, well served by Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins' atmospheric cinematography of well-chosen and well-used Mumbai locations, serves up a sweet - but never sickly - love story.

And what an unexpected (and guilty) pleasure for someone like me who recalls the days when smoking was permitted in cinemas, to see the beam of light from projector to screen made visible by exhaled smoke - when the couple go to the pictures.

Alan Frank

Germany/India/USA 2019. UK Distributor: Curzon. Colour.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Aug 2019