Do you think there will ever be a pro-arranged marriage movie? Until that happens, writer/director R. Paul Dhillon takes a comedic, multi-cultural look at love and romance in The Fusion Generation. His film brings representation to the east Indian, Hindu, and Sikh cultures in Canada in this very familiar story of star-crossed lovers.
For mother Pritam (Balinder Johal), it has resorted to ancestral prayers in hopes her son, Jag (Munish Sharma) will finally settle down and find a wife. Unfortunately for Jag, he is not exactly excited about Neetu (Daniela Carmona), the one chosen for him. Then there’s Teejay (Sitara Hewitt), the strong, independent business executive, who is the next in line at her father, Sam’s (Gulshan Grover) company. For Teejay, love comes in the form of Paul (Steve Dhillon), an attractive businessman with plans for a “merger” for both Sam and Teejay…if you know what I mean (that felt gross for me to type…my apologies).
During a chance meeting at the park, Jag and Teejay meet, flirt, and separate. It’s not until a few subsequent chance meetings, that the two finally get a chance to spend time together, but love can’t come that easy. Jag still has mother issues. Pritam is an overbearing mother, and she’s upset that Jag won’t “seal the deal” with the eager and attractive Neetu…you know, the bird-in-the-hand principle.
“…an overbearing mother, and she’s upset that Jag won’t “seal the deal” with the eager and attractive Neetu…”
Teejay’s life is a lot more complicated. First, her father is having a secret affair with another woman, and his mistress is pregnant. Second, creepy Paul is in the picture and is mixing his infatuation for Teejay with business. For Paul, it’s love at first sight and proposal at the second. Third, Teejay has an unhinged ex-boyfriend, who is stalking her and making Jag look like he’s the real stalker.
Through a series of mommy/daddy issues, chance meetings, unfortunate coincidences, and tiny secrets revealed at the wrong time—can our two soul mates ever find one another? I think we know the answer to that. The Fusion Generation is a story told many times, over and over, in an already crowded sea of romantic comedies, dramas, and musicals. The twist here is that the story is set in Canada and brings its East/West spin to the story. Unfortunately, not enough to make it stand out from the pack.
The film plays out like a standard romantic-comedy, which is great if you’re a fan of the genre. If that’s you, then The Fusion Generation will fit you well. But it also suffers from the regular criticisms of that genre with its overly dramatic soap-opera plotlines, over-the-top comedic supporting characters, the leads giving up on their destiny and the genre trope where the little, white, lies are peeled away only to find our protagonists are perfect for one another.
“…brings representation to the east Indian, Hindu, and Sikh cultures in Canada…”
I’m sure The Fusion Generation will find its audience. But for me, I have a wish list for rom-coms in the future. I wish the multi-cultural aspect of the film were so engrained in the plot, that if you removed it, the film would not make sense. I also wish the film took greater risks in telling its story. Maybe take a fresh look at the slutty fiancé, the obsessed ex-boyfriend, the unfaithful father, and the even the overbearing mother. I wish, when writing the script, the words, “how can I do this differently?” and “has this been done before?” was scrawled on the top of each page.
That said, The Fusion Generation boasts a strong cast, particularly Sitara Hewitt as Teejay and her counterpart Munish Sharma as Jag. While they did an excellent job with the story given, both are clearly up for more significant challenges in the future. You can also tell the film was an opportunity for the Sikh and Hindu communities in Vancouver to make a movie, and I’d be interested to see what the next one will be.
The Fusion Generation (2019) Written and directed by Paul Dhillon. Starring Sitara Hewitt, Munish Sharma, Gulshan Grover, Balinder Johal.
5 out of 10 stars