Everywhere and Nowhere is a well-meaning attempt to depict the lives of contemporary Asian youth on screen. Unfortunately the cluttered narrative fails to convey the film’s intentions.
Ash is the youngest of three siblings, living with his brother while studying for his degree. Ash’s real passion is DJing, which is at odds with the wishes of his strict Asian family. Ash finds it difficult to reconcile the world of nightclubs and hanging out with his friends with the expectations of his family…
One of the main problems with Everywhere and Nowhere is that it tries to fit too much into its running time. There are too many strands, some of which never get resolved. Each of Ash’s friends has their own preoccupation, which detracts somewhat from the primary narrative. Furthermore, there is plenty more going on in the film (such as extra-marital affairs and interracial relationships), all of which are tangents from the central plot. The film should revolve around Ash’s desire to become a DJ, but is often side-tracked by a multitude of other issues.
Everywhere and Nowhere‘s second major issue is that it focuses upon the usual Asian fixations. It would be interesting to see a film with an Asian protagonist that does not revolve around a culture clash narrative. Instead, Everywhere and Nowhere fulfils the regular stereotype, pitting traditional family expectations against the westernised desires of a teen brought up in London. The film goes beyond this, however, and features a plethora of other race and culture-based strands. These include arranged marriages, religious extremism, interracial relationships and ailing parents. Menhaj Huda’s film appears to want to tick every stereotype in the book, and is very messy as a result of this.
The dialogue is clunky at times, which can grate. Ash’s relationship with Bella seems rushed and ill thought out. There is one scene that features the couple in particular which viewers may find uneasy. After trying to cover so many areas, the film’s ending is rushed and unsatisfactory.
James Floyd gives an acceptable performance as Ash; he is not really helped by the script. Adam Deacon brings some humour as Zaf, while Shivani Ghai is decent as the pretty but conflicted Sairah. Katia Winter and Simon Webbe have fairly restricted roles, while Art Malik is underused in his miniscule part.
Everywhere and Nowhere tries to encompass a great deal; the film’s overreaching is detrimental to say the least. Bend It Like Beckham is far more enjoyable, in terms of the Asian culture clash theme.