Review: Broken Promises movie is a ton of insults to the LGBT community

Kogie Naidoo and Rani Pillay

The South African Indian community swarmed cinemas this past Friday (27 July 2018) with the release of ‘Broken Promises 4-Ever’ promising a ton of laughs calling it a family friendly movie.

This installment of Broken Promises depicted homosexuality on-screen in a stereotypical way & enforced a myth that gay men are a promiscuous lot existing on the cusp of a decent heterosexual society.

I had my team of writers go watch the movie in their respective cities of Durban and Johannesburg to find out what the fuss was as I had received an email from a reader who watched the movie. The letter worried me, was the movie that bad?

Last night the writers got on a Skype call with me  – as I am in Istanbul for a few weeks – to discuss their views of the movie. I was left gob smacked as they explained to me how the LGBT community was portrayed to link a loosely placed storyline, it was shocking to say the least. 

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The storyline

In this fourth installment of ‘Broken Promises’ the surrounds the difficult relationship of Mandoza essayed by Theshen Naicker to Skylar played by Kajol Sewgobind. The matter of their religious beliefs seems to be the underlying issues that dogs them and how to bring their respective families together and accept their relationship.

Theshen Naicker as Mandoza and Kajol Sewgobind at Skylar

The assumption that Mandoza is gay occurs when his aunt walks in on Mandoza’s best friend, Harsheet played by Fadeen Mia – who is also the producer – is on bended knee simulating the scenario as to how Mandoza should be proposing to Skylar.

Mandoza’s aunt who recorded the event on her phone assumed that her nephew was gay and was now engaged to Harsheet – this was just the start of something spectacularly offensive in the script of this movie.

Kogie Naidoo (Mandozas gran Amsugie and Rani Pillay (Aunty Bommi)

Whatever minor narrative purpose the films’ gay storyline served is completely over-shadowed by the sense that it’s also one more example of the outrageously tacky onscreen antics the audience is invited to take delight in watching.

The burgeoning bellows of laughter from patrons at each gay themed scene was a sign that the South African Indian community is far from being accepting of homosexuals.

ALSO READ: I won’t waste money to watch rubbish & other reactions

Have you watched the movie yet? Give us your view of the movie send us your feedback about the movie to our Whatsapp line 

Some of the crass scenes that my writers noted were when:

  1. Kogie Naidoo’s character of Amsugie retorts that Mandozas life in Johannesburg where there are ‘too many gay people in Johannesburg’ was one of the reasons he turned gay. Her character went on to say that he is ‘damaged’ by being gay as well.
  2. Aunty Bommi played by Rani Pillay in another scene explains to Mandoza the concept of a train going into a tunnel to refer to intercourse between a male and female as being the accepted way of life where a penis enters a vagina.

    She then explains to Mandoza that a train approaching another train (male to male sexual relations) will lead to a ‘crash’, and that being the unnatural way of life.
  3. Another scene where a very inebriated ‘Uncle Billy’ visits Mandoza to explain to him that being gay means you are a ‘broken’ individual. The character ‘Uncle Billy’ goes on to state that gay men are excessively oversexed who go around to ‘run and bang the men’ was also another insulting scene. ‘Uncle Billy’ thereafter pulls out a package of straight porn and hands this to Mandoza insisting that Theshen Naicker’s character will turn straight after looking at the heterosexual porn.

The movie attempted to navigate into the depths of LGBT divide – which is unfortunately still a marginalized community – in an attempt to garner giggles is unacceptable. The producer and director had a moral responsibility to do his/her very best to perpetuate positive content and they have failed horribly.

Filmmakers have an opportunity to tell good stories that provide “a lifeline to the people who need it most” instead Broken Promises 4-Ever just perpetuates a deeply disturbing fallacy about gay men.

Gay men and women who come from difficult family dynamics will only feel discomfort, driving them to hide their sexuality after watching this movie and that is essentially wrong.

The likes of local South Africa TV series; Anant Singhs’ Imbewu: The Seed, Isidingo, Generations and a few others have given us sensitive and fully dimensional homosexual characters, but this movie used the homosexual thread to keep laughs going but in actual fact it was just crass.

The number of locally featured lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender roles that are put out by local movie producers are few and far between and when they attempt to do so its used to enforce negative views.

ALSO READ: I won’t waste money to watch rubbish & other reactions

Another failure of the movie was that it did not pass the Vito Russo test by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). To pass it, a film must feature an LGBT character “not solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity”, and who, if removed from the film, would significantly affect the plot.

Have you watched the movie yet? Give us your view of the movie send us your feedback about the movie to our Whatsapp line 

The greatest outcome for the LGBT community would be for filmmakers & producers to take notice and understand that WE are watching, WE are paying attention and WE are putting a concerted effort into changing things.

Laughing at jokes that are made at the expense of a marginalized group creates a dangerous precedent. This isn’t about my team and I being the PC [politically correct] police. It’s about creating a safe environment for the queer desi.

What Kumaran Naidu & Fadeen Mia failed to see was that the movie has the eyes and ears of audience members and should have reflected the true fabric of our South African society. They should have created positive storylines rather than feed more hatred and prejudice against LGBT people.

This installment of Broken Promises is not worth the watch and if you do go watch it you will agree with our review and opinion of this installment of the movie. The movie continues with a 5th edition called ‘Broken Promises Vengeance’ that expands on the wedding of Mandoza to Skylar.

ALSO READ: I won’t waste money to watch rubbish & other reactions

In 2019, South Africans will have ‘Keeping Up with the Kandasamys: The Wedding’ sequel and ‘Broken Promises: Vengeance’ also about a wedding releasing next year.

But in my opinion, there will be one hit wedding sequel and clearly the other is already a funeral.

Rating: 2/10

Have you watched the movie yet? Give us your view of the movie send us your feedback about the movie to our Whatsapp line 


About Naufal Khan

Publisher & editor of Indian Spice.

3 comments

  1. I can only sigh, a heavy sigh, a sigh of defeat and tiredness. Fighting for human rights (and LGBTIAQ rights in particular) is an everyday statement.

    I remember as a young boy watching Bollywood movies with gay men depicted as dehumanized clowns in the overarching narrative. I looked, not so much at the scene, but the reactions it got. The laughter and what I immediately felt was underlying ridicule and prejudice, reducing a person into a non-human for amusement.

    Fast forward to 2018… Different stage, same actors. I felt like I was in a madhouse of, it was almost like the audience were hypnotized by the built in prejudices that came out through laughter.

    I sighed for the art of filmmaking used so vulgarly. I sighed for the little boy in me that was hoping for something different and I sighed for the minorities out there and in the audiences that perhaps sat next to family members and felt the ridicule in the laughter

  2. What I can say is People of Indian origin are so desperate to there people that they will settle for trash like this. Maybe its just a cultural experience. Kumaran Naidu is a joke so desperate for cheap laughs that poke fun of gay people in order to get it. His previous gimmick of getting the drunkard worked for some people. The trouble is Kumaran can’t write proper comedy and he gets unprofessional actors. But hey he stole your guys money so I guess he is laughing all the way to the nut house. I rate it 0 out of 10

  3. Very well said! It’s a terrible movie which resorted to making fun of Gays to get laughs! TACKY, CHEAP AND A WASTE OF MONEY! The Director and Producer don’t care as long as their ignorant fans pay to watch. The soundtrack to the movie was worse than the dialogue. How did this piece of trash make it to the big screen?

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