Movie: Namaste England
Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Seal, Anil Mange and Dijana Dejanovic
The director Vipul Amrutlal Shah takes his 2007 film, Namastey London, which starred Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif ahead with this film.
Like Akshay Kumar’s character in Namastey London, the lead character of this film, Param (Arjun Kapoor) is also a desh bhakt and wouldn’t dream of staying anywhere but in India. Param is a farmer and makes his father proud. He falls in love with a neighbourhood girl Jasmeet. He first sets his eyes on her during Dussehra (perhaps the scene created to go with the Dussehra release) and goes on eyeing her on all festivals, till during Holi time she starts responding positively. His friends go all out to actually get one of them married to a friend of Jasmeet’s so that Param gets a chance to spend some moments with her! (Haven’t heard of a more absurd setting up).
Predictably, Jasmeet falls in love with Param and theirs seem like a happily ever after kind of a love story, but there is a hitch. Jasmeet has ambitions to become a jewellery designer and she needs to escape from the place her father lives, to make her dreams come true. And she takes a drastic decision which leaves Param heart broken. Jasmeet goes off to London and Param decides to follow her at any cost.
It is one thing to be proud of your film but it is another to rest on your laurels and make a bad copy of your own film. Shah’s Namastey London was appropriate for that time and also had a fresh plot with charming actors. Namastey England only comes across as a poor cousin of the original film, even though one can see that an attempt has been made to rewrite the story to make it more contemporary. This love story remains outdated and archaic, even though it pretends to be modern. While it seems like the plot and her husband Param support Jasmeet’s ambitions, the film actually ends up making her feeling guilty for harbouring them or having an “affair” with a city (read her ambitions) instead of a man.
Akshay Kumar’s patriotic monologue that Namastey London is remembered for, is tried to be recreated here, but lacks the passion or the depth the original had. Arjun Kapoor is sincere and has his own charm, but a half-baked character like Param’s does no justice to him. While Param’s passionate love for Jasmeet is believable, there is no logic to what he does to get her back.
Parineeti’s performance is flat and she herself seemed not convinced with what is going on. Alankrita Sahai, who even though plays a character that seems dimwitted and desperate, seems promising. Aditya Seal is also given a cardboardish character and hence has limited scope. There is zero chemistry between Seal and Parineeti, the girl he’s supposedly fallen in love with. Blame it on shoddy execution and badly written script, but this film ends up being neither entertaining nor motivating. There is one more issue. While Namastey London had some amazing music, the poor cousin doesn’t even get that.
If you really want to watch a Vipul Shah film, watch Namastey London again.