Review - Namastey London: cliched patriotism
Two hard laughs, two emotional scenes and an attempt to evoke patriotism in the Indian cinema goer. Worked for some, didn't work for the rest of us. Akshay Kumar gives an appreciably controlled performance and while Katrina Kaif gives her best so far, yet leaves loads of room for improvement. The story has way too many holes. Then again, we can't expect anything more in a romantic comedy.
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I felt sad while watching this movie…really really sad. No, it had nothing to do with the generally predictable storyline. It was also not because I saw too many genres being mixed to no particular end. It was the songs. Don’t get me wrong, they had awesome lighting! I am certainly not saying I expected better from Himesh Reshammiya. Its not the video album style picturisation either. But, Jaaved Saahab? “Aanan-Faanan”, “Rafta rafta”, “Chakna chakna”? Your poetry has moved me to tears many a time, and this time too, but obviously for all the wrong reasons. I am grieving because it feels like we are losing you Sir, to the inane-word-rhyming competition.
Oh well, coming back to the story. It heavily draws from , Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (the sacrificing husband), Purab Aur Paschim (the patriotism bit). Cinematically, the parts shot in Punjab reminded me of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. One scene particularly reminded me of Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi - would give away a little more than I like, if I said which one. In that sense then, they were original because they were the ones who thought of the combination! While there are some scenes that go contrary to your predictions, they are so unreal or out-of-place with the characterizations that they would make more sense as dream sequences.
Akshay Kumar almost plays himself – a Punjabi dude who listens to music on an ipod while sporting a pink silk kurta – but with a remarkable amount of restraint. He doesn’t get loud or go over-the-top. The flaw is actually in his character which forgets his Jatt pride because he is head-over-heels in love with the lady of his life. Katrina looks dainty and has her share of expressions. This might very well be her best performance till date. Wait dear, that is not a compliment just yet.
Javed Shaikh (Parvez Khan) could use a lesson or two from Rishi Kapoor and Nina Wadia (his wife) for body language and dialogue delivery. The only reason for Upen Patel’s track to exist is the ‘Western Union’ advertisement. I kid you not, they had to put an advertisement they had shot with Upen Patel and Katrina Kaif in it and that is why they chose this cast. That would also explain why Upen Patel was acting like he was a model – to maintain consistency.
The entertainment in the movie is very sporadic. There are two sequences which really work because of their humor. These are not jokes you could narrate; it’s the way it’s done on screen that makes you laugh your heart out. That I guess makes the movie a comedy. There are a couple of emotional scenes where you really feel sorry for Arjun (Akshay Kumar). There’s the romance for you.
Then there is the routine of a foreigner belittling the capabilities of Indians, and an Indian giving it back to them and rightly so, with a slap across their face but sans violence. The good thing about the dialogue is that it is well delivered and that it doesn’t get preachy about Indian culture and tradition. It just states facts. Soon enough, it digresses into some irrelevant facts and loses all grace.
It’s the reinforced stereotypes that got tiring. The racism - all white people (except one in this case) are mean to Asians and don’t take a breather before ridiculing them. The fight of cultures - all the second generation immigrants do is drink, shop and party. And all first generation Indian immigrants make no attempt to socialize with the natives of the country they migrate into. In fact, they are so desperate to get their daughter an Indian groom, that they take pride when an Indian guy eve-teases her?!? Why is it painted so black and white and inevitably the black turning into white (no pun intended)?
Anyway, shouldn’t patriotism be stimulated more often than the few times an Indian actor gives a mouthful to the side character – who exists for the sole purpose of being whacked verbally anyway– in a movie? Shouldn’t we wait at least until a match starts before bashing our cricket team? Oh, look who is digressing now…
Maybe, its pure bad timing. Two movies released in a day both of which deal with the troubles of NRIs and the cultural disparities. Three in eight days. Too much of the same thing not presented in a very different way?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Namastey London - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Adlabs
- Producer: VipulAmruttlalShah
- Director: Vipul Shah
- Lead Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif
- Supporting Cast: Upen Patel, Rishi Kapoor
- Story: Suresh Nair
- Screenplay: Suresh Nair
- Dialogues: Suresh Nair, Suresh Nair
- Cinematography: Jonathan Bloom
- Editor: Amitabh Shukla
- Background Score: Salim Merchant, Himesh Reshammiya
- Choreography: Ashley Lobo, Rajeev Soorti
- Music Director: Himesh Reshammiya
- Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
- Costume Designer: Alison Forbes-Meyler
- Art Direction: Rupert Allan
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 135 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Comedy, Diaspora, Melodrama, Romance