In what will inevitably be compared to teen classics “American Pie” and “Napoleon Dynamite,” Indian import “Brahman Naman” is a worthy addition to coming of age comedies. It’s a fun premise: a group of loser quiz team nerds in 1980s India are obsessed with sex and girls; the hugely likeable cast, including Shashank Arora (Naman) and Tanmay Dhanania (Ajay) makes this movie soar.
This funny film is part raunchy sex comedy and part educational documentary about the caste system in India. Interspersed with brilliant animated sequences (I wanted more), unusual trivia questions (look for the answer key in the closing credits), and explicit sex jokes involving randy college boys, this movie is simultaneously strange and delightful. There’s lots of smoking, drinking, singing (the story is told partially in classic 80s songs), misogyny, and of course, lots and lots and lots of solo sex (we are introduced to the hero when he appears in the opening scene having sex with the family’s refrigerator).
In the grand tradition of movies like “Weird Science” and “American Pie” comes a teenage sex comedy with a message. “Brahman Naman” follows a trio (and sometimes quartet) of Indian upperclass sex-obsessed nerdy college boys as they drink and fantasize their way through their last year of university.
This movie is not for the conservative or prudish. Let’s just say Jim from “American Pie” — he with his creative use of pastries — has nothing on Naman, who is much more imaginative in his efforts at self-stimulation, to often hilarious effect.
But for all of its lighthearted comedy, there is also a serious political message behind “Brahman Naman.” The underlying criticisms of the caste system in India are hard to miss here, as is the flagrant sexism that informs the way these boys view and treat women. I both laughed and learned while watching this movie, which is not something I can say about the typical sex comedy.