It's a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)

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Released 14-Nov-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-It's a Wonderful Premier
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 96:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gurinder Chadha
Icon Entertainment Starring Shabana Azmi
Goldy Notay
Sendhil Ramamurthy
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Mark Addy
Ray Panthaki
Jack Gordon
Case ?
RPI ? Music Craig Pruess

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, behind the scenes with closing titles

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† In South London a series of murders within the Indian community has the police led by Detective Inspector Smythe (Mark Addy) baffled. The answer, however, is straightforward: Mrs. Sethi (Shabana Azmi) is anxious to see her overweight daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay) married and the victims are people who disparaged, insulted or rejected Roopi. But the spirits of the murder victims are unable to go to the afterlife to be reincarnated while their killer is alive; and Mrs. Sethi is not ready to die before her daughter is married. So the spirits follow Mrs. Sethi around providing advice on how to find a husband for Roopi and other helpful hints, although only Mrs. Sethi can see them. Complicating matters even further is Linda (Sally Hawkins) and Raj (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Sally is Roopiís best friend who has just returned from an ashram in India and senses spirits around Mrs. Sethi, while Raj, who knew Roopi when they were children, is now a Detective Sergeant recently transferred to Smytheís squad. Smythe suspects that Roopi is involved in the murders and instructs Raj to date her and to find evidence to establish her guilt.

†††† Itís a Wonderful Afterlife is directed and co-written by Gurinder Chadha, who came to prominence with Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and followed that surprise hit with Bride and Prejudice (2004) and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008). Itís a Wonderful Afterlife repeats some of the themes of her earlier films and adds what Chadha describes in the extras as The Ladykillers (1955) brand of Ealing Studios black humour. Itís a Wonderful Afterlife was actually filmed at Ealing Studios, a nice touch.

†††† Itís a Wonderful Afterlife is a black comedy that is colourful, frequently amusing and sometimes genuinely funny. The main problem is that the macabre, the romance, the comedy and the colour donít fit together that well. The spirits of the murder victims wander around slowly decomposing with the cause of their death displayed: one woman has a rolling pin embedded in her head, another a skewer through her throat, for example. They look grotesque as they hold running conversations with Mrs. Sethi but this is not as amusing as the filmmakers intended. Other times the film feels like a comedy of manners, other times a romantic comedy as, predictably, Roopi and Raj fall in love, with complications that are quickly resolved. There is also an abrupt change of tone in an engagement scene that seems to be from another film altogether; it throws together romance, overacting, a Bollywood dance, colour and a Linda Carrie moment as she uses the power of her mind to splatter food over everyone.

†††† In addition, many of the filmís characters are either one-dimensional or stereotypes; Mark Addy is flat and disappointing while Jamie Sives as Detective Hughes, is just plain annoying. Shabana Azmi is one of the female actors who dominated the films of the so-called "Parallel Cinema" in India in the 1970s and 1980s, but here she is unconvincing and seems lost with the more farcical elements of Itís a Wonderful Afterlife. On the other hand, Goldy Notay as Roopi is delightful, mischievous and lights up the screen.

†††† Itís a Wonderful Afterlife has its moments but in trying to provide Ealing black comedy juxtaposed with romantic comedy, Bollywood colour, music and a dance number it takes on too many genres and fails to blend them successfully.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Itís a Wonderful Afterlife is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The print is sharp and nicely detailed. Colours during the Indian ceremonies are vibrant, elsewhere they are natural. Shadow detail can occasionally be indistinct but blacks are solid, skin tones good.

†††† Marks and artefacts are absent except for some ghosting with movement against bars (8:48) and in front of the patterned wallpaper in Mrs. Sethiís house.

†††† There are English subtitles for the hearing impaired in a white font.

†††† The layer change at 60:49 resulted in a slight pause on my equipment.

††††The print is fine.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

†††† Dialogue was clear, centred and easy to understand. The surrounds do not get a lot of use, mostly ambient noise, music and the occasional weather effect, such as rain. However, during the dance they sprang to life. The sub-woofer added effective bass to the music.

††††Lip synchronisation was fine.

†††† The original score by Craig Pruess was augmented by a number of Bollywood type music and songs. It is quite infectious and adds to the fun.

†††† The audio track is good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Cast and Crew Interviews (5:01)

†††† Not formal interviews but a ďmaking ofĒ EPK with some on-set footage and sound-bites from the writer / director, co-producer, writer and 8 cast members, all in 5 minutes. It was a happy shoot and everyone did a fantastic job apparently.

Itís a Wonderful Premiere (1:54)

†††† Cast and crew on the red carpet at the premiere, with quick sound-bites.

Deleted Scenes (35:55)

†††† 10 mostly extended scenes, some quite lengthy, each with an introductory caption and with what sounds like production audio and no music. Some are interesting, none essential.

Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† There is not currently a US Region 1 release of Itís A Wonderful Afterlife. Region 2 UK release seems similar to ours. Buy local.


†††† Itís a Wonderful Afterlife, a comedy from the director of Bend it Like Beckham, mingles Ealing black comedy, romantic comedy, Bollywood colour, music and a dance number with mixed results.

†††† The video and audio are fine. Extras, except for the deleted and extended scenes, are superficial.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, December 03, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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