Charmless Spangly Jangly Duo
A young Gujarati man named Susu wants to do nothing but Garba. He meets an NRI lass called Michelle aka Manisha. They fall in love with a little help from an uncle and two sidekicks called Rocket and Negative. But there’s nasty NRI dad who wants daughter to get married to white guy. But in the end the garba dancing guy gets the girl. It’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai reversed but without any magic and no charm.
If Salman Khan decides to launch you, it had better be a Dabang style hero or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam type romance. You’re in for a disappointment with this journey of love or Love Yatri. Even though Ram Kapoor’s mamaji (uncle) gives a long speech about how India learns to love from its movies – how Salman shaves his head in Tere Naam, how Shah Rukh spends years in jail for his love in Veer Zara and so on and so forth, you just don’t buy the fact that this lad is really in love with the girl.
The problem with the lad is that he’s shown to be completely idiotic. Not because his name is Susu (such a juvenile attempt at humor because it means ‘pee’!), but because he’s shown to be so easily tricked by anyone telling him anything. His uncle says, ‘This time you’ll fall in love at Navratri’, we see his eyes glaze over, his friends say, ‘She’s beyond your league’, he’s immediately miserable, her dad tells him, ‘She has a boyfriend’, the lad immediately is rude to the girl, his uncle says, ‘Follow her because you need to apologise in person, the lad immediately takes his scooter and drives off from Baroda to Ahmedabad to say he’s sorry. Really? You want young women in the audience to fall in love with such a fickle-minded lad? And ignore that awful name which means pee?
The movie launches Aayush Sharma, spray tanned and much made up young man (shown wearing only a towel after showers, his hair is never wet) with a gym bod (obviously!) who only wants to do Garba (a traditional Gujarati dance usually performed at the Navratri festival (‘Nav’ is nine, ‘Ratri’ is nights) which falls in the month of October/November accordance with the Hindu calendar. His father tries to get him to think of the future by saying that you go ‘gol gol’ (round and round) in Garba, but what is your goal in life. An awful pun on round and goal sounding the same. You groan, but grit your teeth and carry on watching.
The girl, Warina Hussain is tall and thin and fair and so foreign, she looks the part of Gujarati NRI Manisha now called Michelle. She has long hair, can dance, is happy to be in slow motion when she dances. She loves her family and the poor, volunteers at a soup kitchen. She is also shown to be human because she gets an upset stomach from eating all kinds of street food. Don’t ask about acting. She’s pretty, and that’s all that matters.
First Susu, now diarrhoea? Is this supposed to be funny? The family on either side hardly matters, and you remember how the garba dancing family in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was sharply defined. But they assume you have seen all these movies, so family does not really an important part. We know her mother was a saint, running a papad and khakra making NGO, died waiting for her husband to send for her, and her dad has a laundry ‘empire’. This sounds so out of the 80s… And they have to go to passport touts to visit her and apologise? They have never heard of a tourist visa?
It’s very obvious that the lad is trying hard to please Salman Khan, who not only crops up as a reference to love (songs from his films, dialog from his films are liberally used), but he just doesn’t seem to have that zing, the star power that could catapult him into instant fame. He dances like most young men in Bollywood do. He is portrayed at the cool lad among his group. Even his clothes are nicely picked out for him. He can dance too. But there’s something missing… Acting chops, perhaps?
The songs are remixes of traditional garba songs, and so have a ‘hit’ value. And you will groan at the villain dancing garba at the end of the film and wish for Amrish Puri who said,’Ja Simran ja’ and let his daughter go. The film is a mashup of Namaste London and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but has none of the chemistry, the joy or the spontaneity. It is a manufactured paint by numbers, charmless love story.
(this review appears on www.nowrunning.com)