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Review: London Dreams is dreary and repetitive

Review: London Dreams is dreary and repetitive

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 30 October 2009

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Movie Title

London Dreams

Director

Vipul Shah

Star Cast

Salman Khan,Ajay Devgan,Asin,Rannvijay Singh

London DreamsThey?re the Hindi film version of best friends - character opposites and singing happy duets about their dosti.

They spend their childhood in sleepy Patiala, where Arjun (Ajay Devgn) nurtures the dream of becoming a pop star. The family is against the idea, especially his father. This is due to a family back-story (shot clumsily) - his father dies even as Arjun is praying at the temple, asking for any obstacles to be removed from reaching his goal. You empathise with the little boy?s situation.

Manjit (Salman Khan), on the other hand, belongs to a family of musicians. However, he would much rather chase girls. And he ends up becoming a shaadi bandwallah.

After his father?s death, Arjun?s grandfather brings him to London. But he runs away to make a name for himself. In one of the more implausible scenes, Arjun plays the flute at the roadside, dumps the coins at the reception of a music school reception and is given an enrolment form and accommodation. How he got by all those years, we are not clear.

Check out the London Dreams special page

We see him grown up and still as focused on his goal. To the extent that when he forms a band and finds himself drawn towards the group?s dancer, Priya (Asin), he whips himself with a belt to remind himself of his aim. The group auditions for a big project and gets the contract resulting in multi-city tours, a house, a car and finally a performance at the Wembley Stadium.

The conflict begins when Arjun decides to bring Manjit to London as part of his band. Manjit is a surprise package, with his inborn talent, and Arjun finds that sometimes things don?t work out as per plan. He sees that everything he has yearned for is going to Manjit. This starts a test of friendship.

Arjun?s multi-layered character is the high point of London Dreams. His dilemma, even as he loves his friend dearly but cannot tolerate his success, makes for interesting drama, superbly rendered by Devgn. Manjit?s characterisation, however, is uninteresting - Salman does the same bumbling act of a skirt-chaser, flirting harmlessly with the airhostess, and proposing to his girlfriend with the threat that if she refuses he?s going away with the waiting blondes in the pink limo.

The film?s first half is dreary and repetitive even as you learn about Arjun?s unrelenting ambition and Manjit?s devotion to his friend again and again.

Dialogues are unimaginative - it?s odd when London-bred Arjun claims how ?badly? he wants Wembley when perhaps a Londoner would have used a word like ?desperately?. British women are referred to as ?malaidar butter chicken? and one character, on seeing Arjun with Asin, says that now he?s convinced that he is not homosexual but ?normal?.

The film revolves around Arjun, and in effect music. But it is this aspect that sorely disappoints. Songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are strictly average and you?re not moved even once as the characters perform one song after the other on stage. The choreography is also uninspired.

While the cast does well individually, there?s little chemistry between them. Reprising similar roles from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Ajay Devgn plays the silent, strong one, and Salman the gregarious musician. But the connection in the earlier film, where their contrasting personalities complemented the film, is diluted here. The film rests largely on Devgn?s shoulders and he is impressive. After All the Best, Devgn proves his versatility with London Dreams. Salman is merely repetitive.

Asin, relegated to the background literally, shares average chemistry with Devgn. However, she doesn?t form a fabulous pair with Salman. With hardly a role to sink her teeth into, Asin gives a performance way below her potential. Rannvijay Singh and Aditya Kapoor make for a superb supporting cast.

Director Vipul Shah flits between Punjab fields and London always. He shows us spectacular shots of the Wembley Stadium, but fails to make the performance at the stadium overwhelming. He attempts at showing the uglier side of ambition, but instead shows us unreal outbursts, completely out-of-tune with the characterisation. He tries exploring complexities in friendships, but wraps it all up in the empty ?one big happy family? finale. Go for it, only if you find the Ajay Devgn-Salman Khan Jodi irresistible.

Rating: 2 stars

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