Best exotic marigold hotel

Last weekend I went to our local movie theatre and checkout the recently released “Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. This is the sequel to the 2012 released “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful”.

For those readers unfamiliar with the story, an enterprising young Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) runs a rundown hotel in Jaipur in Rajasthan, Northern India. Sonny marketed his hotel as a retirement destination for British pensioners who found that the costs of living in the UK were beyond their means.

Without spoiling the story for those who haven’t yet seen either movie, I won’t say anything else other than after the success of his first hotel venture, Sonny wants to expand his network and open the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

While virtually all of the original cast return for the sequel (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel and others), the cast is expanded to include Richard Gere as an “undercover” representative of a potential financier.

Anyway, the movie got me thinking about India as a potential retirement destination for Australians. There are parts of the country that have superb scenery, there is a rich and vibrant culture, as well as access to world-class medical facilities. But as a country, people probably don’t give India a second thought for retirement, apart from somewhere for an occasional visit.

But before we get all excited about packing up and moving to Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Goa, or indeed Jaipur, I am going to burst your bubble.

You see, the Indian Government does not have a visa class that allows Australians (or anyone else for that matter) to live long-term in India. In fact, the only appropriate visa classes that I could find were the tourist visa which limits entry to a six month period, or a “medical visa” that enables people to travel to India for medical treatment of selected medical conditions. A medical visa may be granted for 12 months or the period of treatment, whichever is the shorter. Unfortunately “old age” does not appear to be one of the accepted medical conditions.

So, while it may not be possible to move to India in retirement, it is certainly a country that may hold attractions for a visit.

As for the movie, I would give it 8/10. A good laugh, fast paced, with some quite poignant moments.

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