This typical indie masala film is a sequel to the 2012 released, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". It lacks the novelty factor and the sheen which was apparent in its first edition.
The narration takes off a couple of years after the long-term
British residents have settled at "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" in Jaipur. The hotel is packed to capacity and manager Sunil
Inderjit Kapoor aka Sonny (Dev Patel) and his co-manager Muriel
Donnelly (Maggie Smith) are now toying with an
expansion plan for "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". This
forms the crux of this film.
The sequel opens with Sonny and Muriel on a road trip to
California in the hope of finding an investor to help them buy the
property they are looking for. After the inconclusive meeting with
the retirement company in the US, who they hoped would finance
their dreams, the duo are back in Jaipur.
Life continues as routine with Sonny taking roll calls of his
guests every morning, in case they leave unexpectedly, pun
And while he manages his hotel, he is also bogged down with his
impending marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai) and his uncertain
future. His frustrations escalate when Kushal (Shazad Latif),
Sunaina's brother's friend, turns up in their lives.
The rest of the coterie at the hotel too are embroiled with
issues of their own, basically related to matters of the heart. The
end culminates as a geriatric romance saga punctuated with rough,
dry and acidic humour, that generates from metaphor packed
Adapted from Deborah Moggach's 2004 novel, "These Foolish
Things", the script written by Ol Parker is chaptered in three
parts; The Sagaai - The Engagement party; The Sangeet - The Family
party; and the Shaadi - The Wedding.
With several sub-plots, numerous characters and no dramatic
sequences, the pace of the narration is fluid, sluggish and
The film is worth watching for the fine performances by the
geriatric cast. Maggie Smith as Muriel who keeps Sonny grounded, is
endearing. It is a delight to watch her dish out caustic
Dench as Evelyn Greenslade, who sources textile for an overseas
company now appointed as its official buyer, has a bounce in her
step after a successful negotiation. While she is professionally
secure, her relationship with Douglas (Bill Nighy), the half-baked
tour guide in Jaipur, is on a rocky terrain. It is touching to see
how he proposes to her.
Equally interesting is to watch the tracks played by; Celia
Imrie as the romance starved Madge, who is wooing two eligible
suitors and Richard Gere who plays Guy Chambers, an
incognito hotel inspector and a novelist who finds his muse in
Lillete Dubey, Sonny's widowed mother.
Dev Patel slips into Sonny's shoes with fine precision as the
over-confident and irritatingly talkative entrepreneur. He pairs
with Tina Desai in equal measure. Together, their chemistry is
blatant and appealing. Shazad Latif as the bone of their contention
has his screen moments and he shines.
A few Bollywood songs like "Yeh ishq haaye" from "Jab We Met",
"Balma" from "Khiladi 786" and "Aila re aila" are integrated into
the script. And the entire cast seemed to have a blast shaking
their legs to "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom".
With good production quality, the film efficiently captures
Jaipur through Ben Smithard's lens, but then the images are not
alluring enough to make you want to visit Jaipur.
Overall, while "The Exotic Marigold Hotels" is packaged as a cultural ambassador of Jaipur, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" remains after all, only the second best!