I haven’t really got used to the whole notion of Being Retired. The old war horse, out to pasture. Nothing to do except nibble the odd blade of grass and assemble IKEA. It suggests a terminal finality – crawling the earth waiting for the inevitable onset of osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, necrosis or whatever other ‘oses’ are enthusiastically discussed in places where the elderly gather. Nothing could be further from the truth but I have a vivid imagination. Outsourcing retirement to less expensive locations is, like call centres, a viable possibility – the subject of the vastly entertaining ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the elderly and beautiful)’ Filmed in Rajasthan, the film’s colourful British cast, who for various reasons all find themselves arriving simultaneously at a hotel which, let’s say, doesn’t quite match the aspirational rhetoric in the brochure, contrast vividly with the equally colourful, teminally noisy, chaotic location with spectacularly inefficient hotel ‘management’, with all its Indian-ness and borrowed linguistic finery – a kind of Asian Basil Fawlty. The location was a perfect emblem of an older feudal system and an agricultural economy colliding inescapably with the modern technological India, the melting pot being a perfect metaphor for the way in which the location influenced the lives of the cast, a rather rag-bag collection of retirees all with different expectations, hopes and dreams played by seven superb veterans whose sheer presence carried the action and manipulated the subplots wonderfully. Much like some of the characters – not the cast – the beautiful old city is very down on its heels now. Extraordinary architecture suffering terribly from dilapidation but at the same time beauty and light peep through the ageing. The overall theme was a willingness to embrace change and having done so the past can reconfigure a future hitherto unimagined, with some very, very funny lines. “You’re not worried about having sex at your age?” “If she dies, she dies…”
It’s good for me to get to laugh with the optimists once in a while. Loved it.