“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is definitely the film I have enjoyed more than any other I have seen this year on the run up to the Oscars – and I have seen quite a few. This film is based on the book “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach and the screenplay was written by Ol Parker.
Without wishing to give away the plot, the story concerns a group of pensioners who are all strangers to one another at the outset and who are all travel together to take up retirement at a newly restored hotel in India “for the elderly and the beautiful”. The cast of the film is a big box office draw with a couple of respected Dames and acting glitterati Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy to name but a few. Ms Moggach told us that once Judi Dench was committed, she brought in all her mates and so the film set was just like a group of chums working together. What fun must have been had.
We were told that the film was made in Jaipur in the middle of nowhere and for the duration the cast and crew were all living together in a little community, much like in the film itself – what bliss for this bunch of friends. Which brings me to the point I wanted to make and which Ms Moggach talked about. She conceived the idea some years ago when thinking about the very real plight of the elderly and wondering how we will all afford to live in the future.
What better way than to have people living in the warm sunshine, in a country that is inexpensive for us to live in and affordable to get to? I for one think this is a terrific idea and as and when I’m ready, I’m booking myself into this hotel pronto and hopefully I can take some people with me – those willing to go. Apparently the Danes are already doing this in Spain, building enticing and friendly communities for the elderly.
Immediately after the film the cinema had arranged a Q&A session with Deborah Moggach. What an interesting articulate lady she is. It is no wonder she is such a popular writer, she had the ability to tell a story masterfully, she had the audience’s attention in her palm as she answered each question from the stage and wove a little tale around them as she went. What a great idea it is to bring in the author to discuss the book, the plot, how the idea was conceived and how it all came together.
I was struck when Ms Moggach said she thought that writers and entrepreneurs have similar brains. I wrote to her this morning asking her if she would mind clarifying what she said. She came back almost immediately with “what I meant was that our (novelists and people like Richard Branson) brains often leap sideways rather than take the linear path, I think we have that in common – in a funny way, it’s the same sort of creativity. We make unlikely connections, are lateral thinkers. Anyway that’s my opinion (probably not true but just thought of it on the spot!)”.
Do go and see this film people and tell me what you think abut this idea. I guarantee you will spend a couple of very pleasurable hours in the cinema.