The American Dream – Realized, Lost, Then Slowly, Painfully Regained – A Pure New York City Story

A few years ago, I was in a hurry to get to JFK Airport to catch my flight. I offered the young cab driver an extra $50 if he could get me there in time. I made my flight but the drive was a terrifying experience. I was highly impressed by the young cabbie’s skills and terrified at the risk I had taken. So watching the story of RV, a young reckless NYC cab driver in “Ta Ra Rum Pum” was natural for me.

RV, a young man from Brooklyn with no education, no money and little chance of making it, lives for the moment. He works during the season as a tire-changer  at the New York State Speedway and drives a cab in New York during the off-season.  Then one day, he gets a passenger who has to get to the racetrack in a hurry. RV gets him there in the classical NYC cabbie way. The passenger owns a down & out team called Racing Saddles at the NYS Speedway and offers RV a chance at becoming a racer.  RV discovers himself and the sport discovers him.

RV becomes a champion, marries his sweetheart (an “arty type” whose highbrow father refuses to accept the marriage). In a short time, RV has it all, fame, wealth, lovely wife and two adorable children. RV stays true to himself and spends all he makes and more. But, the future looks great and he is on the top of the world.

Then one day, Rusty, a young and nasty competitor rams his car during the race. The accident puts RV in the hospital and out of the racing circuit for a awhile.  When he returns to racing after his physical rehabilitation, he finds he has lost his nerve. Eventually, he is fired and loses everything, his house, cars and all chances for the good life.  He becomes a cabbie again and the family has to move to Cabbie Alley.

The fight to get back his own confidence while scrapping to make enough money to keep his family together is where the movie really scores. The indignities RV suffers every day slowly put the chip back on his shoulder. The one scene, in which an Investment Banker gets furious with him for not driving recklessly enough to get her to the airport is dramatic. She yells at him, derides him, and finally flings the money at him in a scene that most cab drivers in NYC experience some time or another.

Finally, his anger and grit is back. He gets a chance to race for another start-up team. In the final lap of the race, he is being crowded by the confident Rusty and RV wins this contest with cunning as well as grit. The racing scenes are absolutely must watch.

This is a movie about New York and takes place entirely in New York.  It is amazing that it took a Bollywood team to fly from Mumbai to New York to do this film. It is equally amazing that the Bollywood team has made life in New York City a classic example of Bollywood family values. This says a great deal about the confidence and the global ambition of Bollywood today.

Ta Ra Rum Pum is a film of hope that is to be watched with your entire family. The racing scenes are magnificent. The New York State Speedway officials had proclaimed during the promos that the racing scenes in Ta Ra Rum Pum are the best ever in any film. They are correct. This is a film where the action is pure Hollywood and the relationships are pure Bollywood

I could not find any clips on You Tube that show the racing scenes. But, I did find one clip that bring out the classic Bollywood aspects of this film.

      (Courtship in New York City – A soft and sweet song)
     (What does New York City look like without people?)

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