This is the holy grail of awkward. For all us misfits, all us loners, all us wallflowers: this is the glory of being a loser. Sellers may have been better in Being There, but this is his most perfect film.
The name Hrundi V. Bakshi is to outcasts what Humbert Humbert is to perverts. Sellers plays Bakshi in such a painfully ill-at-ease way that we just wanna give the guy a hug. If you are looking for the fount from which sprang Napoleon Dynamite, this is it.
Hrundi says the wrong thing…at the wrong time…always. Except for this one night when a beautiful starlet (ill-suited to such a vacuous profession) sees in him the spark which makes life worth living.
Bakshi may be a man of impeccable manners, but he is honest to the core. However, he is prodigious when it comes to “stepping in it.” From the very outset of the party, he must extricate himself from the first of many delicate situations. It’s not easy being Hrundi.
Yes, Mr. Bakshi just wasn’t meant for this world. He is like the dodo bird. His heart is too pure and he is green in all but the Hindustani language. Some might yell “racism” at Sellers in brown face, but it is really a very respectable portrait of an Indian man with great humility through and through.
There are few movies I enjoy watching more than this one. Samuel Beckett never concocted a situation equal to the artful absurdity which Blake Edwards here captured on screen.
And so three cheers for Hrundi…and may all of us Bakshis find our Claudine Longets. Birdie num num!