Salaam Namaste

Last night a bunch of us went to see Salaam Namaste, which one of the highly anticipated movies releasing this year from Bollywood. When I came out of the theatres, I was highly disappointed. The movie had a great story, but could have been handled so much better. At times the movie was not sure what genre it wanted to be: an out and out comedy, a serious drama, a rom-com, or making a statement of the ethics and moral of the Indians living abroad. It seemed like as the director mashed in all the ingredients into one film, and this leaves the viewer confused what the movie is really about.

Nikhil, aka Nick, is an architect turned chef who now runs his own restaurant Nick of Time in Melbourne, Australia. Amber is a medical student, who supports her income as a radio jockey on the program salaam namaste. She is scheduled to interview Nick, but he doesn’t show up and so she demeans Nick of Time, hurting the restaurant business. Nick and Amber fight over the phone for two days, and end up at the same wedding, where they realize three days later that they both had been fighting with one another earlier.

To cut it short, Nick and Amber don’t want to commit to one another to any relationship, and so decide to move in together, but live in separate bedrooms, in order to get to know one another to see if they are compatible. After the initial tussles and fights, they eventually end up in the same bedroom, and spend too much time together.

One fine day, to complicate matters further, Amber finds out she is pregnant, and Nick asks her to abort the baby. So, they are again fight with one another, and drift apart. So the rest of the movie shows how they resolve their misunderstandings, sacrifice their dreams and beliefs and learn to be more tolerant of one another.

While the subject matter is very bold, what with Nick shown shirtless and in boxers for than half the movie as well a full lips on lips kissing scene by the lead actors, the way the story was messed about with was not fun. Typical stereotyped characters of South Indians and Bangladeshis were out of sync. A guest appearance towards the end was totally uncalled for and ruined the mood of the movie. One song (What’s Going On?) should have been totally eliminated. Plus, a whole lot of inconsistencies were glaringly obvious (Nick is refused a bank loan for his restaurant, yet he goes on to buy a very expensive ring from a very expensive shop!!)

The one good thing about this movie was that there were no families involved and no in-laws involved- which is typical of Indian films. Instead, this movie is about two individuals and how they deal with certain obstacles in their lives. Mention also has to be made of two comic turns in this movie, who provided the necessary laughs, Ron, as Nick’s friend, and the Evil Landlord. Indian movies are very slick and technically top-notch. Camera angles, music, costume design and all are done very well. But the script, story and the directions remains the most challenging part.

However, on the whole, Salaam Namaste was a golden opportunity wasted.

Having said that, if you enjoy senseless, brainless Indian movies, then you will enjoy this.

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