Name: Namaste London
Year of Release: 2007
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Rishi Kapoor, Clive Standen, Upen Patel, Javed Sheikh.
And there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and tears of rage and pain- that was me during the movie, which I mostly fast-forwarded through.
Manmohan (Rishi) is sick of his daughter Jaz/Jasmeet's (Katrina) clubbing, and decides that the best way to put an end to this is to bring her to India and marry her off to a "nice Indian boy". (Now this is actually a plausible premise, since my dad often makes this threat to my sister. He figures he can "fix" her teenage tantrums by bringing her to India- but that's another story). So Jaz leaves for the old country with mom and dad, leaving behind a firangi (Foreigner- usually implies White) boyfriend called...Charlie Brown (Clive)- rofl. Charles Shulz must be rolling in his grave.
Once there, a host of eligible bachelors are paraded before Jaz. None of these quite work out, until Manmohan and family land up at his ancestral home in a village in Punjab. Arjun (Akshay), an old friend's son appears to Manmohan the right guy for his daughter (why we ask- why??) and he lays down the law to Jaz- marry Arjun or else.. (or else what??- this innocent blogger asks). Jaz decides to call her friend Imran/Emran Khan (more celebrity name dropping- also Hindu-Muslim bhai-bhai (brotherhood) & Indo-Pak love slogans- 'cos Emran (Upen) and his dad Parvez (the venerable Javed Sheikh- sad role, but love and respect the man) are Paki transplants in the UK), and gets money wired to her via Western Union (the blatant advertisement $ may have been essential to get this movie to the theaters) so that she may get herself back to the UK. Whew! Of course, one wonders why she doesn't have a credit card handy to do the job- maybe because Emran, after sending the requisite $, suggests she marry the guy, bring him to the UK and dump him there. (What kind of a dumb idea is that? Why marry him anyways??? -At this point, we just accept everything as simply a tool for the director to march ahead with the damned plot)
We find that Jaz does go ahead with it- marries the guy, brings him to the UK (what- you mean he doesn't want her to stay back in apna (our) Punjab?- more convenient plot holes) and then announces before her family and the Khans (Parvez, his wife and Emran) that she is dumping Arjun. Arjun is heartbroken, but tells her he will stick around until she actually marries Charlie Brown (hee- that name is too much, seriously).
Meanwhile, Emran has some drama of his own where he is in love with Susan (not only Christian, but White). His father is opposed to the match. Her parents, despite their disapproval, have 2 highly entertaining conditions to the wedding:
1- That Emran change his name to Emanuel, and convert to Christianity. (Ridiculous I know, but still plausible- wait till you hear #2 below)
2- That he sign an affidavit saying he is not a terrorist.
Seriously- this has to be the single most idiotic thing I may have ever heard in any movie. Can we please quit the propaganda against firangs and their evil ways and how we are supposed to teach them the right path (channel the Buddha here- right path, right thought, right action)?
Emran is going to go ahead and do this, but is stopped in time by Arjun (the good Hindu helping his other-religion neighbor in need?), and is shown- you guessed it- the RIGHT path! Emran goes bouncing back to Susan's, and declares to her parents and a large party of guests that he will not go with their plans for him, and offers Susan instead a chance to come back with him (is he gonna convert her too? like the real Emran Khan did his real wife Jemima?--we aren't told- lets just believe that us South Asians are generally inclusive folks).
In the interim, Jaz has gotten engaged to good ol' Charlie Brown (will Snoopy miss him? hee- cant help it), and the wedding preparations are underway. Arjun shows Charlie down and impresses Jaz (wins a soccer game against Charlie, dazzles him & his family/friends with Limca-Book-of-Records-style facts about apna Hindustan, dances in a club with goris (Fair/White girls/women)), but is that enough to secure Jaz as his wife?
It sure is. She runs out on Charlie at the altar, and we next see her riding pillion behind him on his dinky motorbike through apne Punjab de khet (the green fields of our Punjab) in a salwar-kurta outfit.
You know, I really love my country. But when folks like Vipul Shah make such horrendous movies, I get antsy. The movie is so implausible that one can only clutch one's head with sheer agony and groan. Katrina and Upen are cute, dumb, cannot talk and cannot act- that is fine- they should be regarded for ornamental purposes only- so expecting anything but beauty is the viewer's fault. But Akshay? his movies are simply getting more and more painful. Rishi and Javed are wonderful gentlemen who have great work behind them, therefore occasional follies like accepting this script must be forgiven them too. The making of this movie however, is just a insult- to everyone who watches movies and has some level of a functioning brain. Avoid.
Hi Shweta! My name is Miki and I'm a graduate student at Brandeis University studying Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies. I'm currently doing a project on gender and transnationalism in Bollywood film, and I stumbled upon your blog, where you just happen to be writing on the of the films that I'm looking at for my paper! It seems like you have some pretty interesting opinions- would you be interested in responding to a few questions of mine that would be tremendously helpful with my paper? I'd be happy to send you a copy when I finish as well. My email is email@example.com if your interested. Great blog Shweta!
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