From the producers of Hard to Get and Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – one of South Africa’s most successful films – comes an all new rib-tickling, two-sided family comedy affair, directed and co-written by Durban filmmaker Jayan Moodley (White Gold), produced by award-winning duo Helena Spring (Academy Award Nominee and Mbokodo-winner) and the late Junaid Ahmed (who sadly passed away in November 2016) and co-writer, Rory Booth.
Set in Chatsworth, KEEPING UP WITH THE KANDASAMYS opens a window into the lifestyle and subculture of modern-day Indian South Africans; their aspirations, dreams and challenges. “I loved shooting this film on location in Chatsworth. It’s an iconic place, like District Six or Soweto. It’s vibrant, lively and spirited, and I believe we have managed to not only capture its idiosyncrasies but also its heart and soul that will make global audiences fall in love with it too, over a barrel full of laughs,” says director Jayan Moodley about her debut film.
The film stars Jailoshini Naidoo (Eastern Mosaic, Lotus FM) and Maeshni Naicker (Broken Promises) as the matriarchal rivals of neighbouring families, whose young adult children become romantically involved, and despite their best efforts to keep them apart, they are forced to acknowledge that in the end love will always prevail. Shanti Naidoo (Maeshni Naicker) is a typical Type-A personality. Always on the move, going out of her way to please people, and overcompensating for her perceived inadequacies by continually cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Her life would be just fine, except that her neighbour, Jennifer Kandasamy (Jailoshini Naidoo), always seems to hold the upper hand.
When Jennifer realises her beautiful tomboy daughter, Jodi (Mishqah Parthiephal), is in love with Shanti’s son Prishen (Madhushan Singh) – a sensitive medical student, she is determined to break them up. But in order to do that she will have to enlist her rival’s help. “Together the two women scheme and plot, recruit prospective partners and generally interfere with their kids wherever they can,” says producer, Helena Spring.
Mishqah Parthiephal, who is best-known as Vania in the television soap, Skeem Saam, is thrilled about starring in the film. “When I heard there was an audition for a huge feature film in Durban, I knew that it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. So I drove the six hours from Johannesburg to Durban for the auditions. I was offered the role a few weeks later,” she shares. “I think that KEEPING UP WITH THE KANDASAMYS is a beautiful story that reflects true Durban Indian culture, I can’t wait for the world to see it.” About playing Jodi, she says: “We are very similar in many ways. She’s a strong young woman who isn’t afraid to tell people around her what’s in her heart. She’s kind and gentle and very loving. We are even similar in the way that we dress. We both live in shorts and sneakers!”
Light-hearted, and entertaining, the story is supported by an array of colourful characters that celebrate the rich and spicy way of life in Durban. Well-known South African theatre actor/playwright/director, Rajesh Gopie, plays Shanti’s husband, Preggie, while comedian Koobeshen Naidoo can be seen as Jennifer’s husband, Elvis. These two characters always remain in the background as they are constantly overshadowed by their dominating wives. Jodi’s friend Marlin (Neil Govender), the local wedding planner, is an epitome of fabulous flamboyancy and Ayah (Mariam Bassa) – Jennifer’s elderly, no-nonsense, ever-critical, mother-in-law – represents that typical granny in most Indian extended families, with funny one-liners and deep insights that are bound to strike a chord with any audience.
“This film has something for everyone. The universal story of neighbourhood rivalry, our desperate need for acceptance and the climb for perceived societal success, is something which touches everyone the world over. At the end of the day we can all recognize our quirks and foibles and the funny side of the weird, wonderful and strangely competitive world we live in,” adds Moodley.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KANDASAMYS promises audiences some truly funny laughs about families, relationships and neighbourhood-envy. The film was produced in association with M-Net, the DTI and NFVF, with distribution by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment. It features music by Kyle Deutsch and The Parlotones and will be released in cinemas, nationwide, on 3 March 2017.
Jailoshini Naidoo (Jennifer Kandasamy) -A versatile multi award-winning South African actress, voiceover artist and comedian who has performed at major arenas all over the country, including The Market Theatre, Baxter Theatre, The Playhouse as well as the Grahamstown and Hilton Arts Festivals. A former presenter on SABC2’s Eastern Mosaic, and continuity presenter on M-Net, Jailoshini currently hosts The Weekend Liftoff, the Saturday morning show on Lotus FM in Durban. She has also starred in the British film The Eastern Bride, the Italian film Karol and popular British series Strike Back 2.
Maeshni Naicker (Shanti Naidoo) – A stage and film actress, voiceover artist, radio personality, comedian, popular Madame Master of Ceremonies and Drama teacher. After completing her Drama studies at University, Maeshni continued to act in stage and film productions, teach drama at schools and later went on to start her own Drama School, The Maeshni Naicker Academy of Drama. She is best-known for her roles in Broken Promises 1, 2, 3, Highway Sheila, 31 Million, The Dance and the internationally acclaimed Florida Road.