Deepa Mehta is the original gangster. Really. Best known for her philosophical and provocative work with films like Midnight's Children or Water, Beeba Boys marks a huge departure for Deepa in that it's her version of The Departed meets Scarface.
Beeba Boys profiles rival Sikh gangs in Vancouver and exposes their culture of drugs, guns, honour and blondes. These gang leaders, like Randeep Hooda's Jeet Johar, are seen as cultural deities for standing up to cultural assimilation. Except these problems are institutionalized, and the gangs are worshipped by the local media because they know they'll bring in strong ratings. The Beeba Boys dress in sharp monochrome silk suits and wear no socks. Of course they're packing heat too.
But this film is more than just a turf war or asserting religious or cultural dominance by whatever means necessary. It has a soul. It's deep(a) me(h)ta and it's fantastic. Imagine if the Fast and Furious franchise came with pulp. Waris Ahluwalia, one of GQ's best dressed men in the world and a Wes Anderson regular, plays Manny, whose role is to provide comic relief and espouse the wisdom of idioms on his gang. He's a mouthpiece for Deepa's commentary. Ali Momen plays Nep, a new addition to the group. He infiltrates team Beeba while in prison with Jeet when he beats up a bunch of people on his behalf... as he quietly watches David Suzuki's The Nature of Things.
The movie's best line? "Quiet! I can't hear Suzuki."
When the Beeba Boys hit the red carpet at TIFF, they all called Deepa the OG because she's putting the spotlight on these very real and very dangerous Vancouver gangs in a way that takes the piss out of them. According to Randeep, an Indian actor looking for a North American crossover film, he was sent four different Vancouver Sikh gang scripts in the past few years, but chose Beeba Boys because it actually had something to say. He's a talented, articulate charmer and he made the right call.
If you can forgive the film for its over-the-top posturing and using both the Vancouver and Toronto skyline interchangeably to pass for Vancouver, you'll have a blast. This isn't a shoot ‘em up movie, though that's there too. It's more than that. Plus, with the price of admission, you get to see Paul Gross in a man bun. Beeba Boys is a diamond in the rough. The film opens in Canada on October 16.