Movie Review: Namastey London ...

By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

imageFirst things first! It’s said that NAMASTEY LONDON is the 2007 adaptation of Manoj Kumar’s immensely likable PURAB AUR PACHHIM. Sure, NAMASTEY LONDON is about a spoilt British girl of Indian origin and a desi guy, but the similarities end there. In fact, NAMASTEY LONDON also bears slight similarity to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s classic love story HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, with the husband allowing his wife to follow her heart, helping her unite with her lover.

Similarities apart, NAMASTEY LONDON stands proudly on its feet!

After attempting diverse themes such as AANKHEN and WAQT – THE RACE AGAINST TIME, Vipul Amrutlal Shah attempts a love story with panache. But let’s not mistake NAMASTEY LONDON to be one of those candyfloss entertainers that makers/writers have visited and re-visited over and over again. Vipul Amrutlal Shah and writer Suresh Nair blend romance, drama and humor in right proportions and the outcome is a delicacy that whets your appetite.

What works? Plenty of things!

NAMASTEY LONDON is not one of those usual romantic films. The clash of cultures, the widening gap between parents and kids, also racism -- judging someone by the color of the skin -- NAMASTEY LONDON tackles it all. At the same time, it evokes patriotic feelings at vital points in the story.

The engagement ceremony -- when Akshay gives it back to the arrogant Englishman -- deserves brownie points and also an ovation. Besides, when the Indians/Pakistanis win the game of Rugby against the goras, your joy knows no bounds. The game involves you, you feel as if you were one among those cheering for the Indians/Pakistanis.

NAMASTEY LONDON abounds in humorous moments. The entire ‘Bharat Darshan’ track, starting with Rishi Kapoor interviewing the prospective grooms, and also Rishi’s large Punjabi khandaan [especially Bebe], tickle your funny bone. In fact, the Bebe-Katrina interaction is truly funny!

There’s an undercurrent of tension beneath the cool exterior. Katrina’s volte-face minutes before the intermission hits you like a ton of bricks. In the second hour, Akshay’s simple strategy to win back Katrina is very believable. The reason why this character works is because the guy never indulges in any herogiri or adopts any illogical steps to woo her back. He loves her unconditionally and that’s his ‘weapon’ to crush the gora rival, who happens to be Katrina’s lover.

Vipul Amrutlal Shah impressed you in his directorial debut AANKHEN. With WAQT, he climbed the ladder. Now, with NAMASTEY LONDON, it’s a leap. In fact, NAMASTEY LONDON is his most accomplished work so far. Love stories are done to death in Bollywood and no matter how different you claim your film is, comparisons with the successful films of yore are inevitable. Despite that, NAMASTEY LONDON retains its individuality!

To sum up, NAMASTEY LONDON is addictive stuff. You watch it once, you wanna watch it again!

What happens when you transplant an English rose to a countryside in Punjab? Will it thrive in an alien environment? The rose will either die or rebel. That’s exactly what Jazz aka Jasmeet [Katrina Kaif] does when her father Manmohan [Rishi Kapoor] brings her to India and gets her married to Arjun [Akshay Kumar], a farmer.

But Jazz is equally determined to marry Charlie Brown [Clyde Stenden], her British boyfriend. Caught in this emotional tug of war between father and daughter is poor Arjun, who is helplessly and hopelessly in love with his beautiful but unyielding wife.

NAMASTEY LONDON fits the description of a true-blue Hindi film to the T. Writer Suresh Nair’s screenplay is most convincing, the writing is foolproof, with no loose ends. Only thing, while the first hour moves at a lightening pace, the pace drops in the second half. In fact, minimal trimming in the post-interval portions would only make the narrative tighter. Another aspect that might curtail its prospects [at smaller centres mainly] is the generous usage of English language at vital points. Agreed, there are sub-titles in Hindi to decipher what’s going on, but it could prove to be an obstacle.

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is excellent. The tunes come instantly on your lips and what elevates the songs are its picturization. ‘Chakna Chakna’ and ‘Dilruba’ are compositions that merit a mention. Jonathan Bloom’s cinematography is exceptional. The D.O.P. does complete justice to the stunning locales of U.K. as also the lush green fields of Punjab. Dialogues [Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair] are natural to the core.

If you felt Akshay Kumar was getting typecast in comic roles in film after film, you need to watch him in NAMASTEY LONDON. One of his finest performances so far, NAMASTEY LONDON also marks the coming of age of an actor who was often dubbed as an action hero or a funster. Akshay not only wins the heart of Katrina on screen, he’s sure to win the hearts of millions of moviegoers with a terrific portrayal in this film.

Katrina is a revelation. The actor surprised you with a confident performance in HUMKO DEEWANA KAR GAYE and now, in NAMASTEY LONDON, she comes up with a spirited performance yet again. She handles the complex part with remarkable ease. The pretty lass is only getting better with every film!

Rishi Kapoor is in terrific form. Upen Patel is highly competent. The actor has a substantial role which he carries off skillfully. Ritesh Deshmukh [sp. app.] is wonderful.

Nina Wadia [Katrina’s mother] is first-rate. Clyde Stenden [Katrina’s fiancé] is excellent. Javed Sheikh is proficient.

On the whole, NAMASTEY LONDON is a superior product that blends romance, drama and humor beautifully. At the box-office, the film has all it takes to woo the moviegoers. However, the opening [evening shows on Friday specifically] would be affected due to the crucial India versus Sri Lanka cricket match [World Cup], but this truly well-made film should gather speed from Saturday onwards. In Overseas too, the film should fare exceedingly well.

Say namaste to NAMASTEY LONDON, a complete family entertainer. Strongly recommended! Rating: 3.5

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