Vipul Shah has some big shoes to fill; his own. The producer-director has been behind successful films such as Waqt: The Race Against Time and Namastey London. This time the director is back with his new offering: London Dreams. Alas, there is no lucky mascot Akshay Kumar but instead the dynamic Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam duo Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan. The storyline of the film has already been said to be loosely similar to the likes of Rock On!!, Yaarana and even Baiju Bawra. However, while there are some similar running themes, the actual plot is based on the friendship between musical maestros Mozart and Saileri which is actually a popular Russian Opera. London Dreams is the same opus except Desified. Joining the boys is Asin who will be playing a dancing groupie in the band. With such a grand star cast, a reputable director, great music from trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and a supposedly unique storyline, expectations for the film were running super-high. Ready to see if you will be dreaming London or if this dream was a total nightmare? Check it out.
Arjun [Ajay Devgan] and Mannu [Salman Khan] are chaddi-buddies who come from total opposite realms of life. They are however, bound by music – a passion they both share but their ambitions, on opposite ends of the spectrum. While Arjun wants to take his singing to the ultimate high and become a famous singer, Mannu chooses to stay ignorant and young forgoing the high life. Arjun travels to London to form a band consisting of Priya [Asin], Zoheb [Ranvijay Singh] and Wasim [Aditya Roy Kapur]. Arjun soon realizes he will need the musical talents of Mannu if he is to become as big as he’d like to get. It is only after he calls Mannu from Punjab to London that he realizes that he has made the biggest mistake of his life. Almost instantly Mannu takes over in popularity and he over shines Arjun also winning the heart of Priya, Arjun’s love. Mannu is oblivious to his doings and soon finds himself being hated and detested by his once best buddy. Arjun promises revenge and sets out to destroy the new band mate. The road their friendship takes and the dangers that follow makes up the rest of London Dreams.
The film only works because of the performances by both Ajay and Salman. Beyond that, London Dreams has very little to offer. As a director Vipul Shah makes quite a mark though with a subject that is not so close to home ground for him. The effort is visible in his stylish execution of the characters, the very much half-baked storyline and the great usage of the city of London in the film. Viewers are introduced into the world of Arjun and Mannu in the first half and then the real tussle between the characters only begins in the second half. Shah has clearly demonstrated that he can handle the likes of any actors irrespective of their caliber and ensure that they bring out the best in the characters that he has in mind. However, the film drags in many parts especially the climax; audiences were waiting for the credits to run only to be met by yet another song. Another facet which brings the film down is the lack of realism associated with some of the film making it extremely in-relatable. And lastly, while the music of the film may have been appreciated by audiences, they have been choreographed incredibly lack-lusterly doing no justice to the music at all.
Once again, the film works only because of the performances. Salman Khan is top notch. This year the actor has proved that he can take on any role and really make it his own. He takes the character of Mannu, which any other actor would have over done, adds a sense of reality and masala making the experience of Mannu totally unique. Any other actor would have fallen deep underground standing in the same frame as Devgan; Salman stands tall. Ajay Devgan too does full justice to his role which in some instances has rather odd habits, i.e. the celibacy whipping scene – totally over the top. But even then, Devgan does it with much ease. Dually the actors come out with fab performances. Asin is a complete waste but does justice to her scenes. Her pairing with Salman and Ajay both work well. The supporting cast, Aditya Roy Kapur and Ranvijay Singh work well and provide good backing.
The men of the film make London Dreams worth watching. For the most part, the film really doesn’t work well because it gave off impressions of a potential Rock On!! which it definitely is not. If you’re looking for a good rock n roll musical, London Dreams should not be your choice to head-bang to. But for you avid Salman and Ajay fans, London Dreams is one to for merely for them.