Directed and co-written by Ravi Kapoor (the other scribe on the project was Kapoor’s wife Meera Simhan who also plays the mother in the film) Miss India America is about Lily Prasad (played brilliantly by Tiya Sircar), an addicted to winning high school student. Lily graduates, she is the class valedictorian, and things in her meticulously planned life go awry almost immediately.
Lily Prasad is a top level student who always wins. A true type ‘A’ personality the teenager has her future and that of her boyfriend Karim (Kunal Sharma) mapped out to the smallest detail. After graduation her best friend Seema (Kosha Patel) takes Lily down to the Miss India America pageant registration.
Seema wants to sign up but it is Lily that the reigning Miss India America zeroes in on. Prasada is not keen until Karim leaves her for the current crown holder. The distraught Lily will stop at nothing to become the next Miss India America to win him back.
The casting of this film is nigh on perfect. Sircar and Patel make a splendid double act as the two best friends who change places. It is Seema (Patel) who wishes to join the pageant while Lily has plans to head off to Harvard. But after her boyfriend of five years dumps her Lily shoulders her way into the contest and talks Seema into helping her win.
With notable actors such as Cas Anvar (Room, The Expanse), Bernard White ( The Brink, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Meera Simhan (Anger Management, Baby Steps) and Hannah Simone (New Girl, Oldboy) the film moves smoothly through its tightly written paces.
Kapoor and Simhan bring a funny tale of the over-confidence of youth and a coming of age journey that is quirky and a perfect picture of that honor student that is book smart but who lacks in social skills and graces. They have created a character that may be rough around the edges in terms of rubbing everyone the wrong way but despite her attitude, the audience likes Lily.
Cinematographer Alan Caudillo makes the film look beautiful throughout and every frame looks spot on. The pacing is perfect and if there is any complaint at all it would be that the film stops too soon. The story may be finished, per se, but the characters are so much fun the audience wants to know more.
While Miss India America is set in the pageant world it is about more than beauty contests and what goes on back-stage. It is about growing up and all the humor that brings with it. In some ways the film is a bit like Miss Congeniality where the most unlikely of females joins the contest, one for work and the other to prove a point.
Hannah Simone is the contestant that Tiya’s character must beat and Anvar is the lecherous Bollywood judge.
Miss India America is a 5 star film. It entertains and is funny. There is a message there if one wishes to look for it, but mostly it is a film one can enjoy with younger members of the family. Tiya Sircar really sells her teenager who is addicted to the win at almost any cost and she spoke to Mike’s Film Talk about her portrayal of Lily.
Watching this film it is not hard at all to believe it garnered three awards on the festival circuit. On April 5 this year the movie will be available through various streaming outlets. Catch this one when it is released and prepare to be entertained.