Salaam Namaste

Last saturday, I went out with a couple of friends to watch the new bollywood movie “Salaam Namaste” at Hoyts Cinema in the city. The Indian-origin audience, mainly a large bunch of youngsters, was evident even outside the theatre, and later it was a packed house inside. And there was a good reason for it, the first big-budget bollywood movie filmed exclusively in Melbourne (there’s been Dil Chahta Hai highlighting Sydney, but none in the Victorian city). Besides, from the movies online review I could gather that its based on a live-in relationship – a concept forbidden in mainstream Indian cinema (except for 1965’s landmark film – Guide) and alien to the widespread culture as well. By any measure, its always exciting to see something fresh come from the churn of roughly 1000 movie productions every year from the world’s largest film industry.

I highly recommend watching this movie in theatre, so I won’t give out any spoilers here. The first half of the movie is very entertaining and hilarious from the word go. The movie has got colorful shades from previous productions such as Hum Tum and Dil Chahta Hai, but I think its still unique in one aspect – the subject. Although, the whole idea of a live-in relationship could have been dealt with more sophistication but I guess the 27 year old director took a lighter approach considering its his debut. The second half of the movie drags a bit and towards the end it turns into a mad house. Did I hear someone say “9 months” 😉 The city of Melbourne has been well exhibited in the movie with some great locales. The audience gave a huge applause when the movie starts with an arial view of Melbourne on the big screen. Quite surprisingly, the skyscraper shown in the movie as Priety’s doctor’ office building is where my office is on the 42nd floor. I remember, a couple of months back, a few of us friends met with Kunal Vijaykar (who also has a comic role in the film) walking down on Elizabeth Street in the city. And he broke the news that they are here shooting for this new movie starring Saif and Priety Zinta.

Overall, I liked Saif’s comic touch, the Zinta babe looks cool (a bit over the edge when she screams her tonsils out in some scenes) and Arshad Warsi is great as Saif’s best bud. There’s a special appearance by Maria Goretti (Arshad Warsi’s wife) and their toddler son. Tania Zaetta (Who Dares Wins fame) has a supporting role as well. But my favorite star of the show was Javed Jaffery, who plays an Indian landlord, speaks hilleraous broken english with a weird accent. He has some amazing comic scenes and made the audience laugh to tears. The biggest surprise of the movie comes with a special appearence by Abhishek Bachchan. The end credits of the movie roll out with a sequence of bloopers from the movie, which had us all glued to our seats. It was then that I came to know that the young punjabi-speaking taxi driver in one of the scenes was not a real uni student (as one might imagine) but the director of the movie.

All together its a nice entertaining movie. The most hilleraous I’ve seen this year! Now waiting up next for something dark titled “Being Cyrus” …

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