The crippling fear of losing is personified in a comedic film that shows the behind the scenes of Indian American pageants.
Growing up constantly a winner, Lily Prasad built her entire life aiming to continue that legacy. The comedy/drama centers around Lily right as she graduates high school intent on going to Harvard and then pursue medicine; though the basis of the story is common the execution was refreshing. Immediately the movie opens with the introduction of Lily’s childhood awards to define her academic excellence, then she takes her place as Valedictorian, however the twist is in the speech. The stereotype of the academically successful Indian has always been countered with social awkwardness but Lily’s character is steeped in self-centered condescension. Traveling through her life treating her friends and family as valuable commodities her actions are all calculated to achieve the “picture perfect” life. However her controlling nature drives her boyfriend away and brings Lily to the Miss India Golden State pageant with dreams of vengeance. Looking down on everyone there Lily goes in already imagining her crowning moment, that is until she faces fierce competition.
Directed by Ravi Kapoor and written by Kapoor and Meera Simhan, the push for excellence among the brown community is highlighted and made fun of in an enlightening way in the story of Miss India America. With a small cast of Tiya Sircar, Meera Simhan, Kosha Patel, and many more. Sircar plays the main character of Lily and brings to life an ambitious young woman rooted in a desire to constantly win, however the darker fear of losing lurks underneath her every achievement. Simhan takes on the role of the mother of the character who is constantly put aside by her daughter due to her lack of high academic standing. But this is all determined by the fact that Simhan’s character pursues the arts rather than science and even establishes herself as a poet. Patel portrays Lily’s best friend and epitomizes the sidekick role, but shows the pain that comes with constantly being put aside as second best. Lily’s greatest competition at the pageant presents herself as Sonia Nielson, played by Hannah Simone, and has Lily shaking in her boots over the poise, grace, yet down to earth nature of her character. The story and cast take heavy stereotypes and churn them into a lighthearted comedy but still portraying a realistic tale. With character arcs that reach out to everyone, the comedy/drama presents a natural slice of life tale with exaggerated personalities, all with bursts of colors, beautiful saris, gowns, and a hilarious talent portion of the night.