Cast:Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Upen Patel, Rishi Kapoor, Javed SheikhDirection:Vipul ShahMusic:Himesh Reshammiya
There are different kinds of films made with different kind of sensibilities. On one hand there could be slice-of-life films which do not aim at trying to dramatize or sensationalize a situation and instead narrate the tale of certain characters without adding on anything spicy which is unwanted. On the other hand there could be absolute ‘masala’ films that tell a story which you have heard often but have been dramatized with enough spice added on to make them taste different.
‘Namastey London’, of course, belongs to the latter category.
And that is precisely the reason why you sit through it till the very end in spite of very well knowing even before venturing into the theater that hero of the film is Akshay, heroine is Katrina and what good is a feel good romantic family drama if the hero and heroine do not meet in the end.
And that is precisely the reason you look forward to the two meeting each other in spite of the fact that Katrina loves someone else and her marriage with Akshay was nothing but a fluke.
And that is precisely the reason why you end up smiling when Katrina finally comes back to Akshay in spite of us knowing in the first 5 minutes of the film that this would eventually happen.
And that is precisely the reason why such films continue to get made in spite of we cribbing about the fact there are no new stories, because it is us who eventually end up getting entertained to a fair degree even when something like ‘Namaste London’ arrives.
So let’s not crib any further and wonder where Hindi cinema is going. That’s because as long as we retain the sense of being Indian at hearts and soul and clap along when our boys out there in ‘videsi’ land give them ‘gyaan’ about our Indian heritage, culture, rise to fame, power and education, we would get back what we wish.
And howsoever jingoistic it may sound, if we feel euphoric in a scene like the one where Indians and Pakistanis come together to beat the pulp out of the ‘gora’ team in their own game of rugby at their own land, it is but obvious that film makers like Vipul Shah and their clan would not apply any brakes on making such films.
Because it is us who are getting into the ‘seeti-taali’ mode here. Nothing wrong in that, but then as said earlier, let’s not complain that we are not making different films.
In just released ‘The Namesake’, it was shown that the prime protagonist Kal Penn decides to marry his American girlfriend since she is the one who matches his ABCD sensibilities. There was nothing wrong in that his parents [Irrfan Khan/Tabu] do not really get offended by his declaration. In case of ‘Namastey London’, a similar scenario is repeated though with a different twist in the tale. The girl [Katrina Kaif] wants to marry an English man due to the same reasons but her father [Rishi Kapoor] is not quite kicked with the idea. And off he takes her to India with a plan to hitch her with someone ‘hindustani’.
Now this is where this entire talk of two different kinds of films being made comes up again. One is left wondering why commercial Hindi films have to make everything so stereotypical. Just because it was always intended at paper that a NRI girl should eventually get hooked with an Indian boy, the Englishman here is shown to be thrice divorced Mr. Richie Rich who turns into Apoorva Agnihotri of ‘Pardes’ when he insists on getting a little extra close with Katrina pre-marriage.
Now what if this Englishman was a real gentleman, had a clean record behind him and could have been patient enough for a romp on the bed? Would it still have made it so simple for the father to think of someone Indian as his daughter’s groom?
In that case one ends up thinking if the seed of the film lied in its simplistic plot just because everything out there was black and white. And by the way, how are NRI parents still surprised if their children try to let them know about their views when it comes to an ideal partner. Don’t they discuss it over the years or do they just discover about it one fine day when the talk of marriage comes up?
Still, to the film’s credit and if one stops over-analyzing the film, ‘Namastey London’ works to a good degree when one just sees it as an entertainer without getting into the ‘why’, ‘how’ and the ‘oops’ mode. The script is such that it leads to ample fun situations, especially in the first half while numerous dramatic situations (along with some fun ones too) make up for the second half.
For a viewer to be entertained in a film like this where you know what’s coming your way as scenes unfold, it is imperative that the pace is fast, performances are good, visuals are striking, music is ear pleasing and eventually no boredom creeps in. In this context the entire crew [Vipul Shah, Suresh Nair, Himesh Reshammiya, Salim Sulaiman and Jonathan Bloom] contributes well while the three chief protagonists Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are highly believable.
It has been around 5 years since a statement is being made that “Akshay Kumar is quite dependable now” and with ‘Namastey London’ he proves it once again. He has now entered into a zone where only an extremely mediocre film handled by an incompetent director with questionable production values and a dated appeal could extract a below average performance from him. Since ‘Namastey London’ doesn’t fall under any of the brackets, it can be safely assumed that Akshay is likeable yet again.
Katrina Kaif was never a bad actress, even though some sections of the media have been hell bent on saying that in spite of three good performances [Sarkar, Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, Humko Deewana Kar Gaye]. That’s the reason why though some people seem genuinely surprised at her confident (and extremely lovable) act in ‘Namastey London’, that’s hardly the case as she has only carried on the good work based on the experience over last 4 years that she has gained in the industry.
Rishi Kapoor gets to sink his teeth into a good role and with Vinod Khanna making a comeback and Big B already sitting at the top, one wishes once again that a sequel to ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ being made. Upen Patel is only in a supporting role (rather than a second lead) and one wonders what prompted him to sign the film in the first place when he is getting to play the lead in so many other films. Nevertheless, he is fine in the part he plays along with Jawed Sheikh who plays his on-screen father.
In nutshell, ‘Namastey London’ is a good watch as long as it lasts. It is designed as an entertainer (even though being clichéd and predictable) but the packaging is done in such a manner that you don’t mind giving it a watch. Yes, the questions still remain about its over-simplistic plot and situations coming out of it. But then as long as you are willing to ignore them and contend yourself with giving yet another dekko at a kind of cinema that has been existing for decades and would continue to be so for don’t-know-how-many-more, films like ‘Namastey London’ would remain in existence.