The span of an entire romance unfolds in a most unconventional way in the unique — and uniquely captivating — "Hank and Asha." While director James E. Duff, who co-wrote and produced with editor Julia Morrison, has fashioned a love story for the Skype-and-selfies age, the film's themes of personal connection, aspiration and destiny remain timeless.
It all begins when Asha (Mahira Kakkar), an Indian woman studying in Prague, emails aspiring New York filmmaker Hank (Andrew Pastides) a video fan letter after she watches his ballroom dance documentary at a film festival. What follows is a warm and eclectic series of video correspondences, with Manhattan and Prague as inviting backdrops, through which this huggable pair of twentysomethings grow from modern-day pen pals into potential lovers.
Hank's eventual suggestion that he and Asha meet in Paris drives much of their communiqués' snowballing joy and affection. It also propels a sweetly deeper getting-to-know-you phase for the two, which includes Hank and Asha concocting especially cute long-distance "dates" with each other. Their budding relationship is not without its complications, of course. For all its pie-in-the-sky qualities, the movie follows a highly credible path.
With all due respect to the talented filmmakers, the beguiling lead performances are what ultimately make "Hank and Asha" such a watchable little adventure. Like the film itself, Kakkar and Pastides are lively, adorable and thoroughly winning.
"Hank and Asha"
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 13 minutes
Playing: Laemmle's NoNo 7, North Hollywood