Writer: Sivarasa SothivadivelWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Namastey London”, “Rock Star”, "Almost Famous"
"Namastey London" director Vipul Amrutlal Shah continues his fascination with the English capital and trades his favourite actor Akshay Kumar for two able leading men in Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan with "London Dreams", an aptly-titled musical caper that reunites the duo some ten years after "Straight From The Heart". The picture opened head-to-head with another Deepavali release "Aladin" and if box office figures and online critic reviews are anything to go by, is the superior of the two.
"London Dreams" are shared by Arjun (what's with this name and Vipul?) and Mannu, two childhood friends who find fame and fortune in the capital after a bit of Punjab village backstory. However, their bond is severely tested when the determined one is not the more talented one, not to mention a love triangle is introduced when Chennai dancer Priya (Asin Thottumkal) captivates both men.
The movie is driven largely by two solid turns from Devgan (successfully diversified from the action hero he used to be known as) who puts in a heartfelt performance of angst and aggression; and Khan, who is more than comfortable playing a lackadaisical but hilarious, simpleton womaniser who is blessed with talent but not the ambition to use it. Lead actress Asin is the sorest point of the movie, who hasn't improved from "Ghajini" and delivers an unconvincing, stuttering performance when flanked by two established stars. Underutilised supporting characters include bandmates Zoheb (Rannvijay Singh) and Wasim (Aditya Roy Kapoor), while veteran Om Puri gets a cameo as a disapproving uncle.
Adding to the mediocrity of "London Dreams" is a lacklustre score by Shankar-Ehasan-Loy (would it have been a different movie if A.R. Rahman didn't fall out of the project?) which is found glaringly wanting especially in the buildup to the climaxing showdown at Wembley, itself an almost farcical drama overkill. Music lacks a certain energy to it; "Barson Yaaron", "Yaari Bina" and "Tapkey Masti" just pass us by while "Khanabadosh" and "Man Ko Ati Bhavey" manages to be slightly more sprightly.
"London Dreams" is best remembered for a strong chemistry between the two leads and for providing a second revivalist injection to Salman Khan's star appeal after "Wanted" earlier this year. We will have to see if Asin picks up a decent project next (after falling out of Ashutosh Gowarikar's upcoming "Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se") and if Ajay Devgan can add more dimensions to his future moody gangster-type roles. Cinema Online, 06 November 2009