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Salaam E Ishq
(Scroll down to read the review)
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Salaam E Ishq: A Tribute to Love

Reviewer's Summary - A Never Ending Ordeal

Language: Hindi
Year: January 26, 2007 in the U.S.
Actors: Salman Khan, John Abraham, Govinda, Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra, Shannon Esra, Sohail Khan, Isha Koppikar, Juhi Chawla, Ayesha Takia, Anjana Sukhani
Director: Nikhil Advani
Producer: Mukesh Talreja & Sunil Manchanda
Story: Nikhil Advani
Screenplay: Saurabh Shukla, Suresh Nair & Nikhil Advani
Music: Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy
Lyrics: Sameer
Dialogs: Saurabh Shukla

Salaam E Ishq - No Tribute to Love but a Lengthy Nightmare

Quick, drop the guillotine on the Bollywood baboons that brought us the lengthy horror show called Salaam E Ishq.

Inspired by the 2003 Hollywood romantic comedy Love Actually, Salaam E Ishq is that unique Bollywood movie that has absolutely no saving graces.

Featuring a cricket-team-size motley crew of current and yesteryear top stars, Salaam E Ishq proves that more is less when it comes to Bollywood.

From the first frame to the last, Salaam E Ishq is painful torture for unsuspecting viewers duped into the movie hall by the big names on the marquee.

As if one repetitive love story was not tiresome enough in a Hindi movie, Salaam E Ishq bores us with six love stories.

Salaam E Ishq fails at multiple levels.

First, none of the love stories are gripping enough. Not the John Abraham-Vidya Balan pair. Not Akshaye Khanna-Ayesha Takia. Not Govinda-Shannon Esra. Not Anil Kapoor-Juhi Chawla/Anjana Sukhani. Not Salman Khan-Priyanka Chopra. Not even the newly married, frisky duo of Sohail Khan and Isha Koppikar.

In a movie lasting a mind numbing three hours and 40 minutes, director Nikhil Advani is unable to develop a single compelling love story, let alone six. Nikhil Advani, it seems, is merely another way to spell ineptitude.

While a more talented director like Richard Curtis can keep the audience amused with multiple love stories, in the hands of an amateur like Nikhil Advani it becomes a sisyphean task beyond his ken.

Second, love has been beaten to death in Hindi cinema for over seven decades by unimaginative Bollywood directors. And Salaam E Ishq falls into that same "love" straitjacket because lazy Bollywood directors have a hard time conceiving a storyline that goes beyond love.

Third, Bollywood audiences - whether in India or the diaspora in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere - have now matured to a degree where love alone cannot sustain their interest.

Besides love, Hindi movies must now perforce weave other elements such as action (Dhoom 2, Fanaa and Krrish), comedy (Lage Raho Munna Bhai) or anti-establishment ideals (Rang De Basanti) into the fabric of the story if they want to entertain us.

Love can even be primus inter pares (first among equals) in Bollywood movies but not the raison d'etre anymore.

Alone, love no longer resonates with Bollywood audiences. Together with other strong elements, love can still move us.

Fourth, there's the issue of music. Salaam E Isq's music does not rise to great heights. With the exception of Saiyaan Re and that yesteryear classic Babuji Dheere Chalna, none of the songs did anything for us.

Of the vast gaggle of stars in Salaam E Ishq, Priyanka Chopra is perhaps the most disappointing. Although she plays the role of an item girl Kkamni in the movie, she fails to ooze any sex appeal. A mediocre Tamil movie has better item girls than this Kkamni.

Vidya Balan, John Abraham and Akshaye Khanna were the most effective performers of the lot. Govinda and Shannon Esra were tolerable but the rest eminently forgettable.

One of our favorite comical scenes in Salaam E Ishq - and there are very few interesting scenes in the movie - features the blonde girl Stephanie (Shannon Esra) abusing her former boyfriend's parents in Hindi.

Like the retrograde amnesia that befalls Tehzeeb Hussain Raina (Vidya Balan) in Salaam E Ishq, we walked out of Regal Cinemas in Burlington (New Jersey) forgetting all our passion for Bollywood movies.

With mediocre movies like Salaam E Ishq streaming out of the augean stables of Bollywood, it's no surprise then that Hindi films' chances at the Oscars continue to be just a mirage.

A few more movies like Salaam E Ishq and Guru and 2007 could turn into an annus horribilis for Hindi film lovers. - Copyright Rekha Inc.

N.B.: Salaam E Ishq is sooo long that for the first time in our memory, an American theatre provided an intermission.


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