What happens when you decide to flip the Amitabh-Jaya starrer Abhimaan and make it into a story of two friends instead? You come up with Vipul Shah's London Dreams but sadly, minus all the emotional quotient of its inspiration.
What it's about: What happens when you decide to flip the Amitabh-Jaya starrer Abhimaan and make it into a story of two friends instead? You come up with Vipul Shah's London Dreams but sadly, minus all the emotional quotient of its inspiration. Arjun (Devgn) has a childhood dream to become a singer and to perform some day at the Wembley Stadium in London.
He gets the opportunity after his father's untimely death when his chacha (Om Puri) takes him to the foreign land. Years later, he's on his way to realise his dream with the help of his two friends and Priya (Asin), who he's fallen for. Enter Manjeet (Salman Khan), his old pal who's leading a happy-go-lucky life in Punjab.
When Arjun discovers Manjeet's potential as a singer, he decides to take him to London too and make him a part of his band. The problems happen when Manjeet turns out to be better and more popular than him. He even manages to steal Priya away from Arjun.
Jealousy leads to hostility and if Arjun has to succeed, Manjeet has to be out of the picture. How Arjun's insecurity drives him to the destruction of his own friend is what the rest of the film is about.u00a0
What's hot: Vipul Shah's canvas is big and there's no denying he's spent a lot on the film's production values. The film has a certain 'opera' look to itu00a0some of the locations add to the grandeur.
In bits and parts, there are sequences that have the magic touch Asin's dance practice where she oscillates between classical and hip-hop; the camaraderie between the two brothers in the band (Rannvijay and Aditya Roy Kapoor), which peaks when they have their fight over Manjeet; the wooing game between Manjeet and Priya.
The most genuine and effective moment in the film is Arjun's breakdown in front of Manjeet where he asks for forgiveness just before he's about to ruin him.
Among the performances, Ajay Devgn gives his best shot even despite an ill-sketched character. Salman Khan is super in the lighter moments his scene in the aircraft is the highlight. The sincerity shown by the two lead actors is the biggest asset of the film.
What's not: In his attempt to give the film the right look and feel, Vipul Shah overlooks the most important part the script. In a story about friendship, he fails to establish exactly that. We're given to understand that Arjun and Manjeet share a great bonding but there are no scenes that depict that.
Too many cinematic liberties pose too many questions how does the young Arjun run away from the airport and survive on his own in London? Why does he not meet his chacha for so many years? How dumb is Priya's father not to realise his daughter is in the band even after seeing her photograph on a poster?
The film's casting is also its biggest problem the lead characters needed to be played by younger actors. The 35-plus Ajay and Salman making their debut as musicians well, that's a bit too much.
And the outfits that Vipul has chosen for them makes them look more like dandiya stars than rock stars. The whole jealousy angle is so outdated even the saas-bahu serials have better twists nowadays.
And here are some examples of Vipul's definition of intensity: Arjun flogging himself to keep himself focused; Manjeet becoming a hardcore addict (even needing rehab) after one night of drugs and Arjun's emotional outburst in the climax in a packed Wembley Stadium in Hindi (don't mind goras).
Added to that, we have empty Bisleri bottles being thrown on the Wembley stage. And why are so many people lurking around in the film? Arjun is hiding in a corner when Manjeet and Priya are romancing; Priya's father is watching from behind a limousine when she's with Manjeet; Arjun is looking from the corner of his eye when a girl is seducing Manjeet.
Asin chose this film to be her next after Ghajini she's a back-up dancer with hardly any important scenes. And Rannvijay is actually Ajay's sidekick what was he thinking?
The film suffers from sloppy writing, amateurish handling of scenes and disappointing direction. With melody as its backdrop, it's sad that London Dreams doesn't have a single worthwhile composition.
What's that: Arjun is about 8-10 years old when chacha Om Puri comes to India to see him. The boy has grown into a man but the chacha remains the same age. Even we want to know what jadi-booti he's been taking.
What to do: Dream at your own risk.
Dir: Vipul Shah
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan, Asinu00a0
London Dreams At a theatre near you
Eros (3.30, 6.30, 9.30)
Roxy (3, 8, 10.45 pm)
PVR Parel (4.30, 7.40, 8.30, 9.30, 10.30)
Chitra (12.15, 3.15, 6.30)
Cinemax Sion (7, 8, 9.45)
Globus (10, 3, 10.30)
Fame Big (9.15, 10, 10.45)
Diamond (3.30, 6.30)