Films about the Indian community in South Africa are rare, and therefore one has to applaud filmmakers who reflect this industrious section of the population.
After the recent success of 3 Days to Go, comes Deep End which sweeps in from the Indian Ocean.
In director Eubulus Timothy’s film, Sunitha Patel, played by Carishma Basday, is the apple of her father’s eye. He relives his own life through her successes. However, Patel harbours a deep secret; she’s a secret surfer and the sport is not acceptable for an Indian girl of marriageable age.
Her father, played by Mahendra Raghunath, believes that Indian girls must not entertain the slightest thought of ever mounting a surfboard.
Patel, however, is a determined individual who sticks to her beliefs. Naturally, this will lead to a family confrontation.
Deep End can be viewed as a coming-of-age story where cultures clash and where a plucky young women refuses to accept her father’s dream for her.
As a film, Deep End is interesting but, under Timothy’s direction, it is unable to successfully navigate its way through tricky waters. Though dealing with an unusual subject – a young Indian girl surfing – it falls short on key aspects of filmmaking; story line, dialogue and acting.
Aerial shots of Durban and surroundings are skillfully handled and wouldn’t be out of place in a TV travelogue. However, the production is too stereotypical.
The characters lack depth and some of the players seem merely to be going through feelings without attaining any emotional heft to their roles. A key relationship between Patel and a visiting American surfer named Corey (Greg Kriek), who is coaching her, is devoid of genuine chemistry.
A contrived conflict between her entering a surfing competition and meeting a successful young Gujarati man her father has arranged on the same day adds little exhilaration to the film.
Cast: Carishma Basday, Priya Lutchman, Mahendra Raghunath, Suraya Rose-Santos, Greg Kriek
Director: Eubulus Timothy
Classification: 13 DLPV