Director by: Vipul Amrutlal Shah Producer by: Vipul Amrutlal Shah Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Rishi Kapoor, Javed Sheikh Music Dir: Himesh Reshammiya [Watch Songs]
It needs a great chemistry between a director and an actor to keep making films together. Director Vipul Shah, during his shift from Gujarati plays to Hindi films, started with a bank heist story 'Aankhen' followed by 'Waqt' and now by 'Namastey London'.
Thus, he completes a hat trick with Akshay, but also leaves open the future of the action star of the past and comedy kind of the present . Akshay has tried to do emotional, social and family saga in the past as well, but not succeeded so far, be it 'Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya Hai' or 'Humko Diwana Kar Gaye'.
His last movie was with Katrina Kaif, the heroine of 'Namastey London', too. Katrina Kaif in 'Namastey London' plays Saira Bano of 'Purab Aur Paschim'. The answer is No. With this all the speculations that 'Namastey London' is a remake of Manoj Kumar's 'Purab Aur Paschim' come to an end. But, Akshay does try to play Bharat Kumar of 2007, in his latest venture.
If ' Purab Aur Paschim' was aimed at stopping brain drain from India, 'Namastey London' conveys a message that those settled abroad should not look for Indian spouses for their kids. Yes, a very trivial one on its face. But, Vipul Shah tries to cash on emotions by playing with a crossover theme, and ends up making a poor version of 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'.
Let's first discuss Akshay Kumar as Arjun Singh. Everyone knows that Akshay Kumar was Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia before taking his new name in his first film 'Saugandh'. Since he is Punjabi by nature, his on screen acting doesn't throw surprises. Akshay plays a boy who meets a girl ( foreigner ) for the first time. She comes along with her father who happens to be a friend of Arjun's father. Arjun falls in love with her. No matter what the girl has in mind.
Arjun is married to this girl and then after reaching London, he starts playing Ajay Devgan in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'. The only difference between 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and 'Namastey London' is that the boy whom the girl loves is not Salman Khan or even his parallel.
Vipul Shah makes new 'Purab Aur Paschim' but with a role reversal. So, while Manoj Kumar tried to teach Saira Bano Indian values in India, Akshay does the same with Katrina Kaif in Britain. Not a great deal for an actor like Akshay Kumar!
Akshay does some subtle acting, and wins accolades while delivering a Manoj Kumar like lecture. But, his emotions fall flat every time he tries for it. He prefers to wear sunglasses, when he is needed to emote. The only scene that registers on your mind is the falling drop of sweat from near his ear or his crying after talking to his mother from London. The film could have left some effect, had Akshay got support from solid playback signers.
Films like these need some emotional, devotional and patriotic songs. But, Vipul relies only on Himesh Reshammiya and the people nowadays just change their FM channels whenever his songs are aired. Yes, FM channels because the people have stopped buying his CD's.
Katrina Kaif aka Jasmit aka Jazz is the troublemaker in the film. She is a troublesome child; she drinks wine, kisses his boyfriend in the open, roams around in mini skirt and gives a damn to the worries of her father (Rishi Kapoor). She has been brought up like this by her Punjabi mother, who always felt inferior among Britishers when she was young and came to London.
The father brings her child back to his native country and goes on Bharat Darshan. He also does a Damaad (Son-in-law) Darshan and finally decided to marry her daughter to Arjun. However, the question is if the fathers of grown up girls are so desperate to get rid of thier daughters? The problematic attitude continues even when Jasmit is married. She comes back to London and declares her marriage null and void, according to the British law.
Jasmit has learnt with her own errors. She loves a boy named Charlie Brown who has married thrice before and got divorced. But, our girl cares a damn. She is blind in love and doesn't mind even when Charlie's relatives insult India. Arjun confronts the Britisher at this juncture and gives him a lesson that is like prose version of famous song from 'Purab Aur Paschim' -- "Jab Zero Diya Mere Bharat Ne, Duniya Ko Tab Ginti Aayi". So, what is new in the film? The novelty lies in the parallel tracks of the story.
Be it Upen Patel who plays Imran and loves a British girl and is almost on the verge of changing his religion to marry her before Arjun makes him realize his mistake. The rugby match between Asians and Britishers or some good scenes from Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh who plays Upen Patel's father in the film, are interesting.
Katrina does the same what Akshay does for his character. Katrina too plays almost the real on reel. Her accent is real and irritates when she keeps on talking in English for most of the time she is on screen. 'Namastey London' is just an inch above an average film. It has no great scene, no great dialogues and no great songs.
Even Vipul Shah's direction seems to be inspired from Yash Chopra's movies. He uses crane to showcase Punjab just like Yash Chopra did in 'Veer Zaara'. His shot taking will remind you many famous scenes from past films.
Not a good deal for a director who is still trying to carve a place for himself in his third film. The film becomes predictive by the end and when Rishi Kapoor comes running after his daughter escapes from the altar.
You may have seen dozens of films in just two and half hours. Climax is courtesy 'Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin'. If India wins today's match go out and enjoy in the open sky and if India loses, you won't be in a mood to even watch 'Purab Aur Paschim', so it may be Bye Bye London as well.