Triads, Yardies & Onion Bhajees (2003)

tyod cover

It pains me to say that this is the first film that I have watched for this blog which has truly disappointed me. Almost every aspect of the production of Triads, Yardies & Onion Bahjees fails to amount to anything even bordering competency. It is infuriating to watch. The tangled mess of opinion in my head is such that it delivers crippling writer’s block, so many inadequacies are jostling for centre-stage that my mind has become clogged with thoughts of this film.

An ambitious trio of young Asian gangsters double-cross their own gang and three rival gangs (one of which is led by real life ex-gangster David Courtney) in an attempt to steal $6m from Heathrow. Things quickly go wrong and one man, Singh (Manish Patel), must step in to right wrongs.

The opening scene is shot in grainy black and white. It appears to be a flashback.It features a drug dealer being choked to death with an onion bhajee. My high hopes begin to quiver excitedly at the prospect of the rest of the feature. We quickly discover, however, that this is a scene that runs concurrently with the rest of the narrative and that the entire film is in grainy black and white. The pinnacle of interest scaled in the first scene.

It isn’t simply the visual quality that makes this work look amateurish. Chuck and Buck, had a lo-fi feel to the image quality but was still made like a proper film and didn’t suffer because of it. Triads, Yardies & Onion Bhajees looks like a half-baked, sixth-form, media-studies project completed the day before the deadline. The best example of this is perhaps the lack of establishing shots in most scenes. Each edit seems to jump straight in to the next scene and it, coupled with the poor quality black and white, gives the film a claustrophobic, stifling feeling that makes it an uncomfortable and demanding watch, and not in the way most film-makers wish their film would.

The sound quality is not dealt with any more professionally. The soundtrack is constantly turned on and has two modes, fast paced Asian music for action and pseudo-cinematic strings for dramatic moments. Music plays at all times, even to the detriment of the dialogue. Characters are relaying important information to each other: MUSIC IS PLAYING. A moment of quiet reflection after a death: MUSIC IS PLAYING. A tender moment between lovers: MUSIC IS PLAYING. I felt like I had cinematic tinnitus. It is skull-crushingly annoying.

What little dialogue makes it out of the maelstrom is so unaffecting either through poor recording or delivery that there is little in the film that is capable of making an emotional impact. Every line sounds like a cheap kung-fu western overdub.

I haven’t even mentioned the terrible digital gun effects that look like Mr Chips from Catchphrase is popping caps, the humourless and pointless violence or the cliched characters but I have purged my system of this film never to return to it again. This was a cavalcade of awfulness. I hope I’ve made that clear.

Director: Sarjit Bains

Certificate: 18

Main Cast: Manish Patel, Jass Bassi

DVD Extras:

  • Making of Documentary (BBC)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Interviews
  • Public Reaction to Film
  • Cash and Curry HOT & MILD Trailers



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