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Salaam-e-Ishq – A Tribute To Love January 29, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Ever since I got to know that this film was inspired from Love Actually, I have been waiting for its release. This film has six intertwined love stories in the mould of its inspiration and has been co-written by director Nikhil Advani (Kal Ho Naa Ho) alongwith Saurabh Shukla and Suresh Nair. The much talked about movie boasts of a huge starcast and has opened to a mixed response from critics and viewers alike. The format which I love so much has unfortunately not appealed to everyone. General audience, it seems, doesn’t want to keep track of so many characters (though they don’t mind the same thing in the daily soaps).

For his part, Nikhil Advani has made a good attempt but he has, without doubt, faltered. This is a very well-planned movie and he has done quite a good job with the transitions. As a director, his work is laudable. The problem is that a film with so many stories needs to move at a blistering pace and the best way to achieve this is by keeping the audience smiling throughout. However, Nikhil seems to have taken his stories too seriously. Each of the tracks is highly predictable with every audience member exactly aware of how each story is going to proceed (of course, when movies like Fanaa and Veer-Zaara can be hits, these aren’t really bad). As a result, when the movie turns serious, the audience loses their patience. Also, there isn’t enough time to connect with so many characters.

The major mistake on the part of Advani, Nair and Shukla is that they have tried to simultaneously deal with the unhappy side in each story such that the sadness can culminate with the Ya Rabba song. The first half of the film is filled with hilarious sequences. However, the second half is a bit too heavy, boring the audience completely until the climax which brings the humor back.

Another major negative is the length. We are used to watching movies that are close to 180 minutes in length, so another half hour shouldn’t make much of a difference but the serious second half tests the patience of the audience. I also didn’t care for the fact that the every story deals with the “love” between a man and a woman unlike Love Actually which incorporates varied stories dealing with the developing love between a father and step son to the relationship between an ageing pop star and his manager. This similarity in themes between the stories also adds to the monotony.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s soundtrack for the film is brilliant with Tenu Leke and Dil Kya Kare being my favorites. The costumes in the film aren’t always good (Vikram Phadnis, Alvira Agnihotri, Manish Malhotra) and the make-up is garish at times (especially with respect to Ayesha Takia and Priyanka Chopra) but the cinematography is good (Piyush Shah).

Now let’s get to the stories and the actors. The Salman-Priyanka track takes up a lot of time and tries to delve into the life of an item girl. Though it might be the most original of all the stories here, it falls flat when it gets serious (and the humor isn’t great either). Salman is at home in a role that suits him while Priyanka is fine without giving us too much to rave about.

The Govinda-Shannon Esrechowitz track isn’t bad (the waiting for a dreamgirl thing is too far-fetched but who cares when it is fun). It throws up quite a few laughs (I loved the part featuring Shannon’s entrance) and its great to watch Govinda. Shannon does well.

The Akshaye Khanna-Ayesha Takia track reminds one of Pyaar Ke Side Effects. Nikhil does a good job with the imagination scene and Akshaye Khanna is excellent. Takia hardly gets to do anything. This track is the glue between all the stories and isn’t too heavy.

The most hilarious story is the one featuring Sohail Khan and Isha Koppikar (not too original either). Sohail does a great job and has everyone in splits. I liked Isha’s dialogue delivery which I believe helped in generating the laughs. Though this track borders on cheap a couple of times, I didn’t think it crossed that border (but those with a more traditional mindset might disagree).

The Anil Kapoor-Juhi Chawla-Anjana Sukhani track is inspired from one of the stories in Love Actually. While Anil’s atrraction to Anjana is understandable, I couldn’t see a reason for Anjana’s affection towards Anil. The story of a middle-aged man being attracted towards a younger girl outside his marriage hasn’t been dealt with realistically in Hindi cinema. That gives this track some novelty but it is quite heavy. Anil and Juhi are good and Anjana isn’t bad either.

Finally, the most boring track is the one featuring John Abraham and Vidya Balan. It starts off quite well but the twist in the fate of this couple only takes the movie downwards. Vidya looks wow and her performance is fine while John is passable.

Despite its flaws, the movie would make a decent watch on DVD (with a remote in hand), primarily for the fun-filled first half and star value (and the format if you like it). Those who would still like to watch it in the theatre could wait for a week or two by which time, it should be trimmed.

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Comments»

1. Akku - January 30, 2007

I guess if the movie is trimmed it would be better to watch it, as the second half of the movie was quite boring and seemed to drag on and you lose your interest in the film.

2. Rhehaa - April 5, 2007

I don’t understand why critics and audiences are so harsh towards Salaam-e-Ishq! In fact, I must say that Nikhil Advani has done a good job! What I adore the most in Salaam-e-Ishq is undoudtedly Akshaye Khanna! Akshaye Khanna has a wonderful comic timing! This guy is the best comedian of the year!

3. Aryan - April 5, 2007

Akshaye Khanna is the only one to watch for in Salaam-e-Ishq! Akshaye Khanna has made me CRAZY about this comic role! Akshaye Khanna rocks and steals the show! Nikhil Advani has done a commendable job by directing Akshaye Khanna in a very remarkable way! I like the scene between Akshaye Khanna and Vidya Balan! Hope these two do more films together! Akshaye Khanna and Vidya Balan makes an unusual and exceptional pair!

4. Dristi - April 12, 2007

I would like to see Akshaye Khanna paired with Vidya Balan in a movie!

5. Shujath - April 13, 2007

Finally saw the uncut 3 hour 45 minute version on DVD today. First tihngs first….this is definitely not a bad film as some prominent critics have put it. Yes, there are definintely glaring flaws in the movie but in the end I did like it. I agree that this is a movie which would be a bit hard to endure watching in a theatre.

The promos actually are misleading as they give the impression that this is a colourful fun-filled blitzkrieg…quite on the contrary. There isn’t anything new or exciting in the individual stories itself and that’s the reason I didn’t find most of the first half exciting. What really impressed was the writing and execution of the last one hour or so (especially from the Ya Rabba song).

All the performances are good except for Priyanka Chopra who I found quite irritating. The music and the background score are great. The “Ya Rabba” track is my favorite more so because of the way it has been incorporated in the film. Salman’s dance moves in “Tenu Leke” are a pleasure to watch.

Salaam-e-Ishq is a far superior (but bloated) product than any of the love stories in recent times which have gone on to become blockbusters. Watch it at leisure with a few breaks and you’ll end up liking it.


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