By: Deepa Gahlot
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Monday 29 January 2007
Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, John Abraham, Akshaye Khanna, Juhi Chawla
The John Abraham-Vidya Balan track has the tragedy of an amnesiac woman who can't remember her beloved husband. The Salman Khan-Priyanka Chopra story is about an ambitious woman who has to abandon her dreams or lose her love. The Anil Kapoor-Juhi Chawla story is of a man facing mid-life boredom and considering adultery. The Govinda-Shannon Esrechowitz track is about a woman desperately seeking a man who doesn't want her. The Akshaye Khanna-Ayesha Takia episode is about a man who wants to opt out of marriage. The Sohail Khan-Isha Koppikar (entirely dispensable) snippet is about a newly-wed couple unable to consummate their marriage.
If there is something happy, fulfilling or even deliciously heart-breaking about love, it isn't found in Bollywood's answer to the utterly charming Love Actually (by Richard Curtis). The problem, of course, lies not so much in the execution as in the clunky writing. The script of Love Actually was perfect blend of lightness and intensity, deftly weaving in and out of eight stories and ending in a glorious Christmas climax.
The pain in Salaam-E-Ishq is forced, the humour tasteless and on thinking of it, one can't recall a single moment that made the heart soar or the eyes moist. Surprising, because the director's first film Kal Ho Naa Ho, had many a delightful moment of laughter and tears.
So what went wrong with his second? It couldn't be the stars, most of them have done a sincere job ? both acting and promoting their film. Perhaps Advani bit off more that he could chew? It's not easy to make film with a difficult structure unless it works perfectly well on paper?even that is no guarantee of it working on film, but at least the foundation should be strong. In a film like this, there should be a few good characters whose lives matter to the viewer. Salaam-E-Ishq may have a lot of stars to look good on the hoardings, but there's little or no ishq!