TRIBECA 2022 | FOUR SAMOSAS Is A Fun Heist Film With Earnest Heart
“It’s great! Even though it’s only very little”. Repeated more than once for comedic effect, it’s a motto that rings ever true for Ravi Kapoor’s latest film, Four Samosas, which is celebrating its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Clocking in at a tight 80 minutes and bursting with rambunctious energy, it’s the type of the film that becomes a festival darling for great reason. Four Samosas is a deeply earnest film that wears its silly heart on its sleeve and embraces the quirkiness of its inspirations. Writer/director Kapoor utilizes the perfect aspect ratio for a homespun story about a plethora of things, as head of the crew Vinesh so blatantly points out to open and close the film. It’s a film about finding love, or about finding your voice again, or even just about finding your own crew. It deftly balances all three, and Kapoor somehow even manages to fit in a thread about divorce and how it can mess us up deeply. In a statement on the film, Kapoor said, “Four Samosas became a testament to the power of community… to achieve something, whether it’s a heist or making a film”. And by the end of the film, these words could not be more true.
Many, myself included, will tune in to see a fun heist film, set in Artesia. It’s the “Little India” of Los Angeles, and Kapoor has a special bond with the neighborhood, or at least, what the neighborhood represents. The film is “a love letter to every ‘Little India’ out there”, where people can feel at home without ever leaving the country. For a film that revolves around a makeshift crew of four who come together in the name of “reappropriation via crime”, finding just exactly where you belong in the world fits in snugly between the laugh-out-loud moments consistently present. Vinesh, or Big Boy Vin as he likes to call himself, says that it’s better when you got a crew. And with a team as lovable and fun like this behind him, it’s no wonder why.
Thus, the Four Samosas come together. All from the same community and using whatever resources are at their disposal, the crew concocts a plan: break into Vin’s ex-girlfriend’s father’s supermarket and steal his diamonds. Piece of cake. With the help of his friends, what could go wrong. There’s Zak, an aspiring Bollywood dreamer who is currently stuck working at a local chaat café. Anjali (Sharmita Bhattacharya is absolutely wonderful in this essential role) writes, edits, and photographs for the local newspaper, and is even the one who coins the phrase, “It’s great! Even though it’s only very little”. They decide to recruit Paru, a malcontent engineer who has a vendetta against pretty much everyone due to her green card being stuck in limbo. And lastly, there’s Big Boy Vin, the de facto leader who somehow pulls everyone together for this heist, despite being unable to hone in on his own creative ambitions. As Vin, Venk Potula capitalizes on the energy emanating from behind the camera and naturally matches it. The sheer fact this is his first feature film role is impressive, and to lead the film with such liveliness and spark is a thrill to watch. And the same can be said for Kapoor, with this being only his second film.
With clear inspirations and homages ranging from saturated Wes Anderson colors and humorous pans to Edgar Wright gags, Kapoor adds his own bit of flavor to some of the most hyper-distinct voices in filmmaking. Kapoor described himself as “stuck” when attempting to work on his second feature. Prior to the development of Four Samosas, in Kapoor’s attempt to become “more commercial… [I] slowly but steadily compromised my voice until it could have been anybody’s”. With this revelation, he decided to scale back and return to what inspired him most: those around him. Over 80 minutes, we see Vin make some discoveries about himself and how those around him have a deep impact on his life. From being literally boxed in at times to the finale of the film, the lesson the Four Samosas learn is far more valuable than any diamond heist could provide. I’m also under the impression that every film can be greatly improved by a random dance number being added, and with several being included, Kapoor clearly rediscovered his voice and then some. At the end of the day, Four Samosas is simply a reminder of not only how impactful the thematic core of a film can be, but how fun they can be while doing so.
Four Samosas is celebrating its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of the U.S. Narrative Competition. Tickets for screenings and more information on the film can be found right here.