Definitive viewing for the ladies, Brahman Naman is a crazy, colourful, entertaining coming-of-age comedy where rules about tasteful storytelling are thrown out of the window and replaced by shocking revelations about what Indian men really get up to when they are with their mates.
Don’t be fooled. Trailers and posters for Brahman Naman will lead you to assume this low-budget indie flick is an Indian version of American Pie. Sure, it’s about a bunch of guys desperate to pop their cherry, with large doses of filthy thinking and mortifying moments, but if you had to pick one word to sum up the film, ‘educational’ would be a strong contender.
Brahman Naman, the new offering by Director Q, is an educational watch for many reasons. Firstly it gives you an insight into small town Indian life, circa 1980s. A decade pre-social media, the easiest way to see porn was from a print magazine, and if you had a crush on someone, you’d have to call them on their landline; not poke them on Facebook. Frustration was understandably rife in this era, and it’s these frustrations around which the plot for Brahman Naman unfolds.
Cue Naman (Shashank Arora) and his sidekicks. He and his geeky quartet make up the Quiz Team at a college in Bangalore, but while on the outside their minds seem to be made up of brains (the guys qualify for an inter-college championship), the insides are filled with raging hormones which colonise their thoughts with the biggest question they all face, when will they lose their virginity?
Humour, horror, desperation and desire fill every moment of their day as they lust after unobtainable women and release their tension in all manner of imaginative ways. Getting satisfied by a fridge, a ceiling fan and by the warm, wet enclosure of a fish tank are the mere tip of what these sex starved students are capable of.
Unconventional yet appealing, this quirky tale, with biographical elements (that of the life of its Writer Naman Ramachandran) is a fun, light-hearted, entertaining watch that gives an insight into what it’s like being an Indian lad, growing up in a conservative environment. The pressure to study and adhere to religious expectations while trying to be cool in front of their peers, haunts every one of the characters, but in the end it’s their vulnerability as boys turning into men, that makes their story so watchable.
A hip soundtrack seamlessly pulls the plot together while elements of animation and the viewer’s own quiz questions, which are answered while the films credits roll, add ‘refreshment breaks’ during the viewing. The backdrop to the world of colleague quiz clubs may seem a little alien for some viewers, but its eccentricities hold interest, and will possibly peak your own desires to take part in the next pub quiz you see advertised; there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of being right.
Sadly these boys aren’t always the winners and this alongside their other failures in life is what answers perhaps the most educational of questions: ‘why are boys like that?’. Answering key questions about male behavior, attitude and general peculiarity, Brahman Naman will appeal to those who are seeking answers to such mysteries and anyone who has ever felt a bit different: perhaps for them, this motley crew will become their heroes.
Now where’s the remote control? There must be something good on The Challenge channel?
Braham Naman releases on Netflix, internationally on July 7th and will also be screened at the BFI as part of The London Indian Film Festival.
Read our interview with the film's Director Q.