The South Africa-meets-Bollywood Bhai’s Cafe, directed by Maynard Kraak, and described as a “poignant little gem of a film about family, love and urban gentrification” will officially close this year’s 40th Durban International Film Festival on Saturday July 27.
Bhai’s Cafe centers on the Patel Family and their cafe, the cornerstone of the Wynberg community in Cape Town. The cafe comes under threat from a ruthless property developer, as Bhai’s daughter, Rashmi, is swept off her feet, in true Bollywood fashion, by Patrick, the son of the property magnate. At the same time, Bhai and his family rally the community to square off with the property developer to stave off the bulldozers and save the Cafe.
“It was an honor to accept (Executive Producer / Actor, Mehboob Bawa) Mehboob and (producer Razia Rawoot of Razia Bawa Productions) Razia’s invitation to direct this film,” says Director Maynard Kraak whose films include Vrou Soek Boer, Finders Keepers and The Last Victims. “It was also a personal challenge to do a film with dance and singing, something I’d never done in my twenty-year career.”
“The film is a life-long ambition of Mehboob’s and a very personal story having grown up in a family that had a similar cafe in Claremont. With the advent of retail giants replacing family-owned general dealers, these bastions of the community are heading for extinction. I also grew up with these family businesses and its isa great shame to see them disappearing. In addition, Cape Town is subject to a worldwide gentrification trend that is robbing areas of their nuance and character. I believe this universal theme can be enjoyed by audiences throughout South Africa and abroad.”
Actor /Comedian, Siv Ngesi plays Patrick, the love interest, who is incidentally a fan of Bollywood movies and music, and participates in multiple dance sequences and even sings in Hindi. (Ngesi also stars in DIFF’s opening film Knuckle City). Rashmi is played by rising talent Suraya Rose Santos. Mehboob Bawa (a 30 year veteran of film, television and radio) and Rehane Abrahams (who recently won a Best Performance Fleur Du Cap for her role inWomb of Fire)play Rashmi’s parents Magan Bhai and Mary, and Patrick’s father by Thabo Bopape. Others in the cast include Fahruq Valley-Omar, Elodie Venece, Rameez Nordien, Stavros Cassapis, Khalil Kathrada and Carishma Basday.
The film will have only one screening at DIFF before it goes on to a national South African big screen release on Valentine’s Day 2020.