Movie Review : Salaam-e-shit
Nikhil Advani made his directorial debut with ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ his mentor Karan Johar’s production.
Heavily inspired by ‘Love Actually’, ‘Dance with me’ and ’50 first Dates’, Advani presents ‘Salaam-e-ishq’, his 2nd film, which is about 6 different couples dealing with love in its various forms.
The movie begins with the very-much-in-love couple, Ashutosh (John Abraham having a bad-hair, bad-skin and bad-wardrobe lifetime) and Tehzeeb (Vidya Balan. Weird attire of a long kurta worn over a flowing skirt throughout the movie). Between lapping up each others tears, they apparently work (God is my witness! I never saw them doing anything worthwhile, ever!) for a news channel and have barely celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary when tragedy strikes and, while on the job, Tehzeeb is injured in a fatal accident which causes her to suffer partial memory loss, due to which all the time spent with Ashutosh has been cruelly erased.
Sohail Khan (really cute) and Isha Koppikar (looking gorgeous) are newly-weds who can’t wait to consummate their wedding but circumstances play the villains each time they try.
Young, hip and good-looking couple, Shiven Dungarpur (Akshaye Khanna, he needs a fashion-stylist ASAP!) and Gia (Ayesha Takia. Looking perfectly lovely) are just-engaged as they are introduced on screen. Shiven suddenly develops commitment-phobia on his bachelor party night when he realizes he is losing out on his freedom and decides to do every obnoxious thing he can, to force Gia into calling off the wedding.
London-based, Vinay (Anil Kapoor. Looking horrifically haggard) is celebrating his 40th birthday when he realizes how insipid his life really is. His wife, Seema (Juhi Chawla. Performance and looks, both serene) between being a great mother and wife hardly notices how disgruntled her husband has become. As if on cue, Vinay bumps into a young, dancer-girl Anjali (Anjana Sukhani) on the tube and immediately recognizes that she is the much-needed breath of fresh air his musty life needs.
Raju (Govinda. Looking rather obese and wearing a pathetic hair-piece with a, hold your breath, fringe!) is a taxi driver who, when he isn’t having one-sided conversations with the photograph of Hanuman hanging on his rear-view mirror, dreams of a beautiful maiden, with flowers falling from heaven, bright lights and music heralding her arrival, walking into his life,. Sure enough, his fantasy comes true when a foreigner, Stephanie (Shannon Esrechowitz) arrives from Canada and hails his taxi at the airport. To look for her boyfriend who has come to India looking to find and marry an Indian girl.
Kkamini (Priyanka Chopra. Looking really ordinary *and horrendously bad in some places! She really needs dental work on those gums!*) is an item-girl who dreams of Karan Johar offering her a lead role in his movie. Her hopes are dashed time and again as she is repeatedly offered only item-numbers and ‘no dialogues’. On the suggestion by her manager (Tinnu Anand) she decides to change her image and reputation by coming across as a simple girl and addresses a press-conference where she cooks up a fictitious childhood-sweetheart Rahul. Enter Rahul (Salman Khan, looking yummilious and not a day over 25 *it has to be either La Mer or bluddy Botox!*) who claims to be the childhood-sweetheart Kkamini spoke about. Who is fooling who, is what we wonder as the movie progresses.
And then, like a desperately over-weight person who finds it difficult to move easily, ‘Salaam-e-ishq’ trundles along, weighed down by too many plots and tardy screenplay and direction.
Ashutosh tries everything he can so that Tehzeeb can regain her memory. Sohail and Isha’s efforts bring comic-relief. Shiven is trying his level best to piss Gia and her family off enough to call off the wedding. Vinay shaves off his French Beard, dons cargos and tries to shake a leg to fit in and impress young Anjali. In spite of language being a barrier and his love for Stephanie being one-sided, generous-hearted Raju drives her around, trailing her boyfriend who is on a ‘girl-seeing’ spree. Rahul and Kkamini keep making public appearances and playing games around each other.
To watch what happens to the 6 couples, go torture yourself with 3 hours and 20 minutes of the movie.
Govinda and Akshaye Khanna’s performances bring some comic relief, as do Sohail and Isha Koppikar’s, who are mere fillers and appear sporadically.
Ayesha Takia, Juhi Chawla and Vidya Balan execute their roles flawlessly and naturally with Ayesha Takia really standing out.
John Abraham gets better with each movie, and with this film Priyanka Chopra proves that she can make up for her lack of looks with a great performance and perfect comic –timing. Anil Kapoor, sadly, has forgotten how to act while Salman Khan continues his usual ‘I-am-the-king-of-the-world’ style of acting. The foreigner/new comer Shannon Esrechowitz is passable as is Anjana Sukhani.
The only saving grace is Shankar, Ehsan and Loy’s superb music with all the tracks being unforgettably hummable, and particularly ‘Dil kya kare’ by Adnan Sami, the title track and ‘Tenu leke’ by Sonu Nigam which are my personal favorites. Kailash Kher has really excelled himself with the soulful ‘Ya Rabba.’
Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia’s super costumes deserve a special mention.
As I said earlier, too many plots for the director to handle is what caused the undoing of this film. The movie is tediously and senselessly long, it’s like walking on the treadmill, where you walk and walk at the end of it you are still in the same place.
So what should you do when you have tons of plagiarized ideas, a stable of top-stars, great locations and a super-generous production team? Get a better script-writer and director.