Friday, January 26, 2007

Salaam-E-Ishq

This is a classic chick flick. There’s love, there’s laughter and there’s tears. Add plenty of melodrama, and generous doses of nonsensical, implausible stuff and you complete the heady potion.

If you’ve been lucky enough to miss the non-stop marketing juggernaut of the movie in the last few days, its about 6 couples, (well, 5 and a half, if you consider the screen time one of them gets), who are all at different stages of life.

  • John Abraham and Vidya Balan are madly in love and celebrating their first anniversary. He’s a Hindu who married a muslim girl, against his parents wishes. She has an accident and that changes their lives forever. They are clearly the mushiest couple and I think there were only about five frames where we don’t see John / Vidya with tears streaming down their cheeks.
  • Akshaye Khanna is a playboy bachelor (exact, and I mean exact, copy of Hugh Grant in Nine Months), who is about to get married to Ayesha Takia (I thought she looked gorgeous) but is going through last minute nervous pangs…make that several last minute nervous pangs…
  • Priyanka Chopra is a hot item girl who wants to be a tragedy queen, star in Karan Johar’s next movie. To make the transition, she tries to reposition herself and get taken seriously by declaring she is in love… with a fictitious person…. and is going to London to meet him. Enter Salman Khan who…well, I’m not even going to try to explain this one…
  • Anil Kapoor has been married to Juhi Chawla for fifteen years, lives in London and has two lovely kids. However, his life is a boring routine and is completely dull and colourless. The hours become anonymous days which in turn become bland months… Suddenly, he finds some spice, some excitement and colour via a chance ‘encounter’ with a young woman, Anjana Sukhani, in the train. The most realistic couple by far, except for the melodramatic end.
  • A very bloated and old-looking Govinda is a Delhi taxi driver waiting for his ‘gori’ dreamgirl. Enter Shannon Esra, who comes to Delhi to stop her desi NRI boyfriend marrying an Indian girl as per his parents wishes. We get the most laughs from this couple with the maximum coming from a delightful Shannon’s attempts at Hindi, including a speech that she prepares for the time she will meet her boyfriends parents.
  • Sohail Khan has just gotten married to Isha Koppikar and cannot wait to consummate his marriage. We see about 5 attempts of theirs, 2 very funny and the rest average / silly…

If you think of how long it took you to read the above, you begin to get an idea of the issues while watching it. Its very long – I think it went well over three and a half hours. Also, you don’t get enough time to really get into the skin of any of the characters or couples – just a very broad brush sketch – and in some cases not even that.

There are also a lot of very good things in the movie. The whole idea is interesting; each of the couple’s stories could almost be a movie in itself, the issues the couple’s face in most cases are genuine / real and all of us can identify with them. The songs are very nice, catchy (maybe a couple too many). And there are some very fine performances in the movie – Akshaye Khanna, Shannon Esra, Sohail Khan, Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Juhi Chawla all do very well. The editing is very good, you flick from one couple to another quite easily, the movie runs at quite a decent pace except in the second half where the pace slackens and I noticed a lot of squirming in the seats. And there are some fantastically hilarious moments that really have you laughing out loud.

However, for me, the movie was more about the concept / the marketing idea than real substance. Its easy to create interesting storyline threads, but the true artistry lies in being able to tie them together…and the extremely melodramatic, over the top, unrealistic second half just didn’t work at all. Most of the genuine issues raised in the movie were brushed under the carpet or solved with one line clich├ęs and platitudes.

Nikhil Advani (the director) used a thick paintbrush to paint very broad strokes, while what this picture really needed was some subtlety, delicacy and calligraphic thinner, lighter strokes. He’s used a blow torch when possibly (considering the central theme of love), candlelight would have been a better idea !

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Well , somewhere you promised you never give the story away, in your reviews. You almost did here !