Good evening kittens!
My sailor and I jumped into an Uber at 5:30pm and headed into the city from Queens, NY to join those lucky enough to have merited an invitation to the only movie of its kind – BAZODEE being held at The PlayStation Theater.
Walking toward 8th Avenue, the excitement in me started to build. Who would attend? What would they be wearing? What would the tone and vibe of the crowd feel like?
As we came closer we noticed glamorously dressed ladies and gents clustering in small groups around the outside of the theater. We asked one of the gents who looked to be working the security circuit, “pardonez moi but could you point us in the direction of the line for people who are on the list?” He gave us easy directions and we joined a line. Turned out it was the wrong line as my sailor suspected but it only delayed us for ten minutes. A few minutes later we spotted Gitesh Pandaya, who gladly slapped on our VIP green wrist bands, sent us through security where we were further directed downstairs to the Press VIP area properly adjacent to a beautifully stocked bar where the tenders – tended! After I wet my palette the magic began.
Some of the stars of the film were giving out small interviews, taking glamour shots and mingling with the crowd. If one panned the camera, excited faces would be the focus in every corner of the room.
My sailor and I, sipped our drink, smiling in anticipation of the treat ahead.
Once I warmed up, and after a pep talk from my hubby who insisted that I stop waiting for an intro, gather up my courage, act like the writer that I am and start talking to the actors, things got interesting. The stars were not only stunning in person but incredibly kind and gracious. They stopped to take pictures, loved the fact that I, and many other writers/bloggers/press were present to cover the groundbreaking event! Staz Nair could barely contain his enthusiasm as he shared how wonderful it was to be a part of the first West Indian – (Trinidadian in particular) film to date. Valmike Rampersad and his lovely companion took a moment to entertain my click, proving that the antagonist of the film can also be a delight!
Shortly thereafter, doors to the far left opened as an announcement through the PA system urged us to enter and take our seats in the theater.
Once the majority were seated and sated, Susanne Bohnet, the producer of Bazodee, took her place on stage and began to reveal her love of the West Indies. Somewhere in the beginning of her speech she shared a personal story about her young daughter mentioning to her as they were driving, “mommy if the police stop me, I’m going to tell them that I’m White because if I tell them that I am Black, they will shoot me.” Now don’t let that mislead you into believing that she would get into a political debate about Black Lives Matter, though nothing would please me more. No, she did not. However it did lend to the theme at the very heart of this movie and music magically woven throughout; love and unity.
Susanne went on to introduce several others including Steven Brown, Lorraine O’Connor and Ancil McKain, also producers as well Claire Ince who not only produced but wrote the film. Todd Kessler also popped up on stage for a director’s nod as well as some of the lead actors, namely Staz Nair, Natalie Perera, Valmike Rampersad, Cindy Daniel and Remy RemBunction. But no one was quite prepared for the king of soca himself, Mr. Mash Up, Machel Montano – OK.
Machel in his melodic, authentic and very sexy Trinidadian accent (perhaps I’m partial because I’m married to one myself,) held court as he graced the audience with a short rendition of how he came to be our king of soca.
Then came the moment of truth, what we had been anticipating all evening, the movie itself. Now let’s just say that I AM A HUGE MOVIE FAN. I’ve seen countless movies with and without my sailor practically from birth but I’ve never seen a West Indian movie with my West Indian counterparts. It’s quite a different and surreal experience. First off, West Indians are not silent so you can imagine that when we caught the first glimpse of our “Son of Trinidad” coloring the big screen, the audience literally erupted. No behavior! Oh Gosh Man! Family! These were just a few of the typical West Indian phrases springing forth from lips across the theater. And immediately, I felt at home and that feeling carried throughout the entire course of the movie. I felt a pride that I can hardly describe; although we were late to the party, we had finally arrived.
Some may describe this movie as a love story, others liken it Bollywood but me, I say it has a texture, sound and piquancy that is vibrant and unique unto itself. I would describe this film as an introduction of the Indian part of the Trinidadian West Indian culture to the rest of the world. It’s like doubles wrapped in a sari. It’s about love but loving yourself enough not to deny what you really feel, despite tradition, family and obligation. It’s about strength and forgiveness, each theme unfolding effortlessly through the music of Machel Montano. And though these themes are heavy, it is written and played in such a phenomenal way by all of the actors that it goes down as easily as ginger beer on a hot summer’s day. It’s lighthearted without feeling the least bit disposable. The only thing hard about watching this movie is keepin’ your bum bum from shakin’ in your seat It’s simply BAZODEE and unless you’re pagli, you’ll run to the theater on August 5th when it opens Nationwide. AMC is among one of the theaters featuring this gem. So what are you still waiting for? Fandango this bad boy, link up with a friend and move so nuh!
Before you push off, let me just share a tiddlywink about the after party. When the movie wrapped, we cleared the theater for a few minutes so the powers that be could transform it into a stage. For whom? Dare you ask the question? May I just say that Mr. Sexy Soca himself was in rare form. He chatted, he sang, he real mash up de place and he buss a couple a whine on we too! We had our hands in the air, we palance, we waved our flags! Wherever you were from, wherever you were going, on Wednesday night it simply was irrelevant! We were ONE – joined quite literally at the hip – smiles from ear to ear, from here to there. The crowd overflowed with joy. Machel performed like the star he is. Like I said before kittens, we have ARRIVED!