The result is a movie that is not at all grotesque. For there's beauty even in the grotesque. Instead, you have a movie that is plain bland, a dal without tadka, a curry minus the spice that refuses to leave any taste in your mouth. Sadly, it isn't meditative enough to claim that this blandness is the 'method in the madness'.
If you haven't read the novel, you'll be disappointed by the movie because it doesn't work for you and if you have read the book, you'll be doubly let down at the thoughts of what it could have been.
To be fair though, the fault isn't Deepa Mehta's. She has done her job with elan so that the look and feel of the movie is what you might call 'international' as we know it today. And though her camera lacks the magic realism of the book, it's not bereft of either wit or sense of humour. The casting is immaculate and the actors do a good to brilliant job.
It's the screenplay that is a let down.