Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Bollywood comedy 'Total Siyapaa' opens in Tampa

The history between India and Pakistan has been testy at best. Their separation in 1947 was bloody and three wars followed.

Sometimes the war is a little more personal, like when Aman, a Punjabi boy in London, wants to marry Asha, a Punjabi girl — which seems perfect until her Indian parents realize he's from the side of the state that's now in Pakistan. Oops. What ensues is Total Siyapaa, a Punjabi-language word for troubles or chaos.

The family comedy stars real-life Indian Punjabi Yami Gautam, who won the IIFA Award for best female debut last year for sperm donations dramedy Vicky Donor, and real-life Pakistani Punjabi Ali Zafar. Zafar began his stardom as a pop singer in his home country before crossing the border into Indian films, many of which are still technically (though ineffectively) banned in Pakistan, and lends his pipes to all five songs on the film's soundtrack.

Playing Asha's proper Indian parents are veteran actor couple Kirron and Anupam Kher. It's their first movie together, which is impressive considering you can think of Anupam as Bollywood's pops-up-everywhere Morgan Freeman: He's been in 365 movies in multiple languages, including Silver Linings Playbook and Bend It Like Beckham.

And Total Siyapaa, with subtitles, releases Friday — Kher's 59th birthday.

Caitlin E. O'Conner, Times staff writer

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