MOVIE REVIEW: Keeping Up With the Kandasamys

Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker in Keeping Up With the Kandasamys. Picture: Supplied

Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker in Keeping Up With the Kandasamys. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 3, 2017


The title, though obviously a play on the Kardashians, is a bit of a misnomer. No one is trying to keep up with the Kandasamys, posh though they may be.

This seems especially true for neighbour and the sworn enemy of Jennifer Kandasamy, Shanti Naidoo. 

Her larger-than-life, happily snacking, personality is the antithesis of the prim and proper, waist-watching Jennifer, and unashamedly so. 

She doesn’t seem to mind that the Kandasamys all drive luxury German sedans, or that the interior of their house oozes Top Billing austerity. For all the bad vibes, she seems happy with her lot.

The truth is, no one in this film can keep up with these two.

On their shoulders, they carry the energy, wit and essence of this film, rendering the rest of the cast mere props to be swept up in their tour-de-force. It’s little wonder their husbands seem more at home lazing about on the golf course.

Perhaps its because they are so fixated on their animosity that they do not realise that the rest of their kin are getting along just fine. Especially the kids, who are planning on getting married.

So naturally, all hell breaks loose when they cotton on to all the canoodling behind their backs. 

Meddling like only a mother can, they reluctantly join forces and plot to split the young lovers up. For Jennifer and Shanti, their greatest fear is that, once their offspring are married, they will never be rid of each other. But it soon becomes obvious the ladies doth protest a bit too much.

Teaming up to play with fate, these former best friends come to appreciate just how much their grudge has cost them. But their realisation nearly exacts an even bigger toll as their scheme causes much heartache and exposes a secret that never should have seen the light of day.

While it’s pretty obvious that everything will work out in the end, you’ll never see that little nugget coming. It’s a little moment that draws you in, like you are standing on your front porch, listening to the neighbours going at it and everyone’s dirty laundry is about to be aired.

And it’s apt because this film is billed as an ode to the Indian community of Chatsworth in Durban, where the neighbours live so close to you they can smell what you’re cooking for supper. Those are the moments of legend.

As the warring couple, Jailoshini Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker don’t so much steal the show as copyright it. 

Naidoo, in her tight skirts and pencil heels, is something to behold, even if she does look like a fish with feathers all dolled up in the hurly-burly of the famous Bangladesh market. It’s a far, far cry from Aunty Rumba. Naicker’s comic timing keeps the film ticking over. You can tell she’s a sweetheart, but you probably don’t want to mess with her.

Despite the universal, and very rom-com aesthetic of this film, it is likely to find it’s greatest appeal within the community it celebrates. There, the little quirks that drew so many laughs at the screening I attended will draw the most appreciation. It helps if you’re in on the joke.


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