Buddies in India (2017)

This is a “buddy movie”. The word is right there in the (sub)title! In English! In a font that looks like but isn’t Hindi!

The spoiled and lonely heir to a wealthy and successful real estate development company must travel to India to fetch his deceased father’s will, but his father’s last wishes were for him to travel there with a bodyguard, specifically, a monkey trainer—actually an incarnation of the monkey king—who, by refusing to leave his home, is thwarting the company’s plans to develop a valuable piece of property. Can they get along until they reach their destination?

“A martial art master must protect the heir of the Bao Tang Company from imminent danger or face having his house torn down. (This is a Mandarin film shown with English subtitles)”

The movie had a couple of scenes with bizarrely costumed Taoist deities, and also had the developer’s heir riding atop a hoverboard, wearing what looked like a Power Ranger’s costume, fighting the kung fu master. There was also a fight scene in a sari factory, and a chili pepper eating contest. Strange movie.

Want to learn about “nail houses”? See below.

Nail Houses

The thwarting of real estate development in China is an interesting topic. My understanding is that private property protections sometimes have resulted in what are called “nail houses“: isolated homeowners holding out against offers to buy. Below is a fictional example, but there have been real ones.

The nail house is in the center of a huge construction site.
Yeah, actually everything around the construction site is already really built up.
We’re in the middle of a city here!

In the West, everybody loves an underdog, and stories about nail houses feed the desire for ever more David-and-Goliath stories (like Pixar’s Up), but I suspect what has more often happened in China is that homeowners have been tricked or forced into leaving their homes. Certainly the nail houses don’t seem to have the benefit of utilities like power and water. The subject is one of those addressed in Out of Mao’s China.