Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Rishi Kapoor, Upen Patel, Clive Standen, Nina Wadia, Javed Sheikh, and Ritesh Deshmukh & Vipul Shah in a special appearance.
Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
After successful directorial ventures like Aankhen and Waqt – The Race Against Time, Vipul Shah churns out a romantic comedy which is not only romantic and funny but one that also explores the emotions of the characters. The question is does he deliver? Yes he does…in a big way! Film-makers always attempt to do something ‘different’ with their films and what distinguishes Namastey London from other products is that it highlights various social issues such as cultural differences, generation gaps and patriotism while at the same time keeping the theme of the movie intact. There isn’t an overdose of the above mentioned issues, but rather a subtle blend. Also, it is not a regular boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after kind of story.
Namastey London is about a pretty British born Indian girl, Jasmeet a.k.a. Jazz (Katrina Kaif), who is fun and fearless – she loves partying, drinks vodka, has a British boyfriend, and says that she is British. (After all, she has been singing ‘God Save The Queen’ from the age of 3 and her parents are British Citizens!). She doesn’t want to marry an Indian boy, oh never! So what happens when her parents take her all the way to Punjab to meet prospective grooms? What happens when the girl’s father (Rishi Kapoor) gets her married to a Punjabi farmer named Arjun Singh (Akshay Kumar)? Does romance blossom? Are there fireworks? Is there chaos? This film provides you with the answer!
Some sequences that should be noted are the meeting of Jasmeet (Katrina Kaif) and her parents with the various prospective grooms in India. Watch out for the boy who does a hilarious take on Ekta Kapoor’s dramas! The engagement ceremony where a Britisher mocks India and then is taught a lesson of sorts by Arjun is commendable. Don’t miss the scene after the rugby match where Jazz and her family along with Arjun are on the dining table and Rishi Kapoor bursts into uncontrollable bouts of laughter and eventually all of them start laughing too. Very cute sequence! Also, the culture shock Katrina’s character receives when she arrives in Punjab deserves applause. On the other hand, the sudden blow she gives before the intermission leaves you surprised, and when Imran’s (Upen Patel) father pays him an unpleasant visit on his birthday is noteworthy. Yes, there are many wonderful scenes in the film!
The beautiful thing about this film is that all the characters are lovable –even Jazz, who is a certified brat. And that’s not the only beautiful aspect– the cinematography is breathtaking as well! The landscapes of London and Punjab are wonderfully captured and contrasted.
Personally, I am not a fan of the music but it fits in well with the film. ‘Dilruba’, ‘Main Jahaan Rahoon’ and ‘Rafta Rafta’ are good. The best thing about all the songs of this film is that each of them takes the story forward and therefore, are vital to the plot.
The only downside of the film is that a lot of the portions are in English (although Hindi subtitles are provided). Since the audience largely consists of the general masses or the ‘aam janta’, that may hinder the prospects. Other than that, Namastey London largely works because of its taut screenplay, fast pace and brilliant performances.
After playing a variety of comic roles, Akshay Kumar is in tremendous form and essays the role of the sober and sensitive Punjabi boy with finesse. His love for Jazz can clearly be felt. It was refreshing to see him move away from his usual Garam Masala/Bhagam Bhag type roles.
Katrina Kaif is the surprise package of this film. She is amazing! It is undoubtedly her most natural and spontaneous performance till date, and she seems to be getting better and better with each film. Her dialogue delivery has also improved a great deal. Plus, she looks absolutely stunning.
The supporting cast comprises of Rishi Kapoor who is fantastic, Upen Patel is very impressive and plays his role well. Clive Standen, Nina Wadia and Javed Sheikh are excellent. Ritesh Deshmukh is solid.
Might I add that the casting of this film is perfect. Everyone suits their roles to the T. While Akshay slips easily into his character of a true-blue Punjabi boy, Katrina who is British herself, essays her role with conviction. After Humko Deewana Kar Gaye, the chemisty between Akshay and Katrina is again sizzling!
On the whole, Namastey London provides the goods. The dearth of hit films in 2007 may finally end with this full on family entertainer, a must watch for everyone!