By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
L.A. Asian Pacifc Film Festival
Regal L.A. LIVE:
A Barco Innovation Center
Sept 25, 2021
Sujata Day’s debut movie Definition Please offers a Bollywood-style charm about Monica Chowdry (played by Day) dealing with life many years after winning the spelling bee as a child. Her friends and family are proud. They assumed big things would be in store for her later in life. None of that fame stood the test of time and it seems she’s transfixed with living in the comfort of what is familiar instead of taking on new challenges.
Her family wants the best for her, even though she doesn’t see the writing on the wall herself. That is, she’s struggling with her self worth. The problems she faces are familiar and relatable. Instead of psycho-analyzing herself, she’s looking at how others treat her. The choice of words I see spelled out during the film is more about how she sees others instead of herself.
When the story is not about Monica’s parents and friends trying to convince her to take that dream job, the focus shifts to her and Sonny (Ritesh Rajan) who is bipolar. He enters the film midway with bravado, and she’s upset. However, when she learns he’s afraid to seek help, it’s their story which becomes the backbone in the remainder of the movie as they reconnect.
This film works better as a feel-good film rather than an introspective one. The segments to like are the times when Day embraces her life fully, and has segments about Bollywood culture to bring a smile to anyone’s face. The cameo by LeVar Burton is sadly short, but at least the positivity he endows is well planned. I suspect his brief involvement is to say there’s always gold to find the end of that Reading Rainbow.
4½ Stars out of 5