Entertainment & Arts

Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gets royal premiere

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The royal couple have travelled together to India many times, last in 2013

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith on the orange carpet at the royal premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Tuesday.

With flower garlands and coloured drapes, London's Leicester Square was decorated to resemble a set from the Indian-based film.

The release follows the 2012 box office hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

But critics have given director John Madden's sequel mixed reviews.

Based in Jaipur, India, the follow-up sees the original cast members reprise their roles, with Richard Gere joining the cast.

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Media captionDame Judi Dench and Celia Imrie spoke to BBC London's Brenda Emmanus

The Second Best Marigold Hotel also stars Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel, Tina Desai, Penelope Wilton and Tamsin Greig.

Following the premiere, Desai said the royal couple had been "extremely warm and gracious", and that Prince Charles was very interested in the Bollywood film industry.

The original film earned more than $135m (£82m) at box offices worldwide on a production budget of $10m (£6m).

Image copyright AP
Image caption Directed by John Madden, the sequel stars Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Actress Tina Desai was among the members of cast on the orange carpet in Leicester Square

'Unexpected and rewarding'

Writing in The Guardian, Andrew Pulver gave the sequel three out of five stars, saying it was a "slightly reshuffled replica" on the original.

"In seeking to exactly replicate the mood of its predecessor, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel executes the time-honoured practice of giving the punters exactly what they want," he wrote.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph's Robbie Collin described the film as "unexpected and rewarding" compared with the original, also giving it three stars.

"This follow-up... starts out just as predictably - but around halfway through, the culture-clash cliches suddenly run out, and the whole thing swerves off in an unexpected and rewarding direction," he concluded.

However the film failed to win over Wendy Ide, who gave the film two in The Times, saying the "hotel's exotic guests outstay their welcome".

"The film is coated with the musical equivalent of curry house-flocked wallpaper," she wrote.

Ide described the storytelling as "shallow" and "over-stretched", adding that Richard Gere's character lacked "real depth of characterisation".

The sequel is released on 26 February. Money raised by the premiere will go to The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, which provides support to film and TV industry employees and their families who fall on hard times.

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