Salaam Namaste or the ideal youngsters’ dream?

Update: A mildly edited version of this film review has been published at The h2g2 Post. 

I’m not a big fan of the mainstream Indian movies or Bollywood movies, if you prefer. Never was. The problem with these films is that most of them appear to be divided in two very distinct parts. The first part is the good one. Usually the guy meets the girl and they fall in love. There is the relationship more than anything. The second part is the one full with problems. There’s particularly loads of crying about stupid things. I suppose that’s an ingredient for film success in India.
Salaam Namaste

Salaam Namaste, which mostly is a pair of greetings in Hindi, Arabic and Urdu, is a film, released earlier this year, that I’ve always wanted to watch because of the actress. Preity Zinta, my favourite actress, is just superbe in this film, to put it mildly. I remember the first time I saw her in the Salaam Namaste poster. Phew. She isn’t the sexy girl, you know, she’s amazingly cute however. And that’s what I like. I never put much emphasis on the body shapes like other sex-addicts out there. I appreciate the real beauty, the enchanting smile and the lustrous hair.

Another reason – very irrelevant when compared to the first one – I wanted to watch this film was because I sincerely thought that it would break away from the other mainstream Indian films. I was partly right. Salaam Namaste is much more adventurous than other mainstream Indian films but unfortunately the film’s second half is no match with the marvellous first hour or so.

Preity plays Ambar (not Hambar, it’s “Ambar? without an “H? but starting with an “A? – watch the film) a RJ (radio jockey – I think that’s what the abbreviation means) and has her own show on “Salaam Namaste? radio show. The actor, Saif Ali Khan, plays a chef named Nick.

The film begins with Nick being late to a radio interview with dear Ambar. He doesn’t show up because of his inability to wake up early. Ambar is furious that Nick doesn’t even bother to apologise and takes her frustration out on the restaurant Nick works at.

The two protagonists are at war but they haven’t even seen each other. They finally meet at one of Ambar’s friends wedding – being celebrated on the seashore. They flirt and fall in love. When it’s time to go, Nick has a brainstorm: why not ask Ambar to move with him in an appartment? Afterall, she’s studying (to become a surgeon), and she’s single. After some frustrating times for Nick while he tries to convince Ambar that’s it is the best idea (of course, they will have separate rooms), they eventually move in, in the ideal appartment. Special mention goes to their lanlord, who’s just like the Crocodile Dundee guy.

That’s it, they live the ideal new lovers’ life. The boy likes the girl. The girl likes the boy. They move in together, with no parents around, and live under the same roof. The relationship quickly evolves and then there was that scene: the scene where Ambar actually kisses Nick on the lips. It may not appear as a big deal but believe me, for the mainstream Indian film, it definitely is a big deal. The ironic thing about mainstream Indian cinema, is that many are now featuring near-naked women dancing under the rain but none of them ever have the courage to show a simple kiss on the lips. Well this one does and it was just great. Got me a little bit jealous but nevermind that…

And then there comes the inevitable second part where Ambar is pregnant. She wants the child (children?) but Nick doesn’t. They split but live in the same appartment nonetheless, each claiming that they both equally paid the one-year rent. One the less bad side, there isn’t much crying.

In the end, of course…

Overall Salaam Namaste is a very entertaining film. I won’t watch it again just for the moment only because I have the bonus DVD, packed with behind-the-scene captures, cast interviews and even cut scenes!

To summurise it, Salaam Namaste is my personal best mainstream Indian film of the moment dealing with relationships. And I recommend it to all of you people who are dreaming about that ideal close relationship.


1 Response to “Salaam Namaste or the ideal youngsters’ dream?”

  1. 1 Anjali 24 January, 2006 at 6:34 am

    I think the story of ythis movie is stupid, Indi a is tryin too hard to be like AMericans. When we watch hindi movies we want descency and good family stories. But instead i have seen way 2 many actors/actresses kissing in the movies. I think that is all just cheap publicity..i simply hate it

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