The Love Doctor, Mehboob Bawa, stars in the new South African film, Bhai’s Cafe
The South Africa-meets-Bollywood Bhai’s Cafe, directed by Maynard Kraak, shot on location in the Mother City, and described as a “poignant little gem of a film about family, love and urban gentrification set in Cape Town” closed this year’s 40th Durban International Film Festival. It also screened at MNET’s Silwerskermfees and has now been invited to the Knysna Film Festival.
Bhai’s Cafe plays on the 30th and 31st October and 2nd November at different venues in Knysna. Further info is available via this link and tickets for the performances can be bought from Computicket.
Produced by Cape Town-based Razia Rawoot and Maynard Kraak of Razia Bawa Productions and West Five Films, with a screenplay by Darron Meyer and Aaron Naidoo, from a story by Rawoot and Executive Producer / Actor, Mehboob Bawa, Bhai’s Cafe centres on a cafe, the cornerstone of the Wynberg community in Cape Town. The cafe comes under threat from a ruthless property developer, as Bhai’s daughter, Rashmi, is swept off her feet, in true Bollywood fashion, by Patrick, the son of the property magnate. At the same time, Bhai and his family rally the community to square off with the property developer to stave off the bulldozers and save the Cafe.
The film is a labour of love for Mehboob Bawa and his wife, Razia Rawoot. It is the result of years of hard work, passion and sacrifice by the dedicated duo.
“It was an honour to accept Mehboob and Razia’s invitation to direct this film,” says Director Maynard Kraak whose films include Vrou Soek Boer, Finders Keepers and The Last Victims. “It was also a personal challenge to do a film with dance and singing, something I’d never done in my twenty-year career.”
“The film is a life-long ambition of Mehboob’s and is also a very personal story that drew inspiration from his own life, having grown up in a family that had a similar corner shop in Claremont, a cornerstone of that community. With the advent of retail giants appearing in local neighbourhoods replacing the convenience of the family-owned and run general dealers, these bastions of the community are increasingly heading for extinction. In addition, Cape Town, on the whole, is subject to a worldwide gentrification trend that is robbing areas of their nuance and character. We see this especially in areas close to the city centre like the Bo Kaap or Woodstock, but this is spreading throughout the city as property prices continue to spiral out of control. Thus, I believe this universal theme can be enjoyed by audiences throughout South Africa and abroad.”
Actor / Comedian, Siv Ngesi plays Patrick, the love interest, who is incidentally a fan of Bollywood movies and music, and participates in multiple dance sequences and even sings in Hindi. Rashmi is played by rising talent Suraya Rose Santos. Mehboob Bawa (a 30 year veteran of film, television and radio) and Rehane Abrahams (who recently won a Best Performance Fleur Du Cap for her role in Womb of Fire) play Rashmi’s parents Magan Bhai and Mary, and Patrick’s father and owner of the property development company by Thabo Bopape. Others in the cast include Fahruq Valley-Omar, Elodie Venece, Rameez Nordien, Stavros Cassapis, Khalil Kathrada and Carishma Basday.
“We have introduced a romantic subplot with a Bollywood inspired touch leading to heartbreak, emotion and drama,” explains Razia Rawoot and Mehboob Bawa. “There are Bollywood-styled song sequences with songs composed by Rajive Mohan from Durban, arguably one of South Africa’s top musicians. The lyrics were written by poet Jamal Mukaddam and singer and songwriter Yusuf Bassa. Ultimately it’s a feel-good film, so everything is resolved in the end. But the journey for the characters and the audience is an exciting one filled with lots of humour as well”.