Watching Saalam E Ishq is like trying to eat a jumbo-sized Mushroom-Cheese-Corn Burger, with a lot of masala for flavour.
First, be warned that you need a huge appetite to do finish it.
Besides, you need to be able to digest huge amounts of mush, cheese and corn – the staple diet of Hindi cinema lovers.
So if you’re looking at it as a meal for two, it is the perfect date. It is long enough for you to get cozy, get to know the characters and catch up with their lives, share a laugh with them, relate to the issues of love and commitment and see them find themselves and in a way, yourself in them.
If you are going in a gang, like I did, it could spell disaster. Your friends are likely to ruin it for you with their impatience and restlessness. More so, if they are single.
First, things to consider while booking a ticket to Hindi movie, especially, if its running time is known to be 200 plus minutes at least:
Why bother if you don’t have the patience to sit through four hours? Did Nikhil Advani personally insist with you that you catch it asap? Don’t all promos suggest that it atleast, structurally, resembles “Love Actually”? Then, why go for it if you don’t have the tolerance for a desi take on it?
Maybe it is time to get over your Hollywood fixation, at least while watching our cinema.
It’s not like Hollywood is all original anyway. ‘The Departed’ was among the best last year by one of their best directors but see ‘Infernal Affairs’ and you’ll see even the master rips off scenes, lines and even shots.
BTW, I still love ‘The Departed’ for the language, attitude and energy with Scorcese adding value to an already explosive script. That’s exactly what Nikhil Advani does here too.
He adds plenty of value and roots many Hollywood script-devices in the Indian mainstream genre. And in a way that you can barely find any resemblances with the original source of inspiration. Unlike, The Departed.
Since I knew just what to expect here, I wasn’t let down at all.
I loved every bit of the film.
Even the bits when it just dragged and dragged and dragged towards the end, with the mandatory pathos song in the end in no mood to end, inter-cutting between the climax for each story in what is the among the longest Last Acts seen on screen. (Everytime the song re-started, the crowd went Ohhhhh No! I, on the other hand, didn’t want it to end!)
Yes, Saalam E Ishq borrows plots from Hollywood romantic comedies quite liberally, but infuses it with what is at the heart of Hindi cinema: A sense of sentimentality that nobody in the world does better than us. And it does this across the vibrant spectrum of desi characters: starting from an old-fashioned God-fearing/trusting taxi driver (Govinda) waiting for his ‘Dreamgirl’ to the new-age post DCH Indian commitment-phobic single male (Akshaye plays Akash this time) who develops cold feet before his wedding (with Ayesha Takia), from a flashy item queen (Priyanka), faking a romance with a mysterious Rahul (Salman), desperate for a change in image to a sober forty-year old (Anil Kapoor married to Juhi) nursing a crush on someone half his ag and from a happily married couple (John and Vidya) whose world is shattered by an accident to another ‘Just Married’ couple (Sohail and Isha) whose honeymoon is jinxed and kabab is filled with haddis.
In between all the light-hearted moments, feel-good and irreverence, Nikhil shows his brilliance and mastery over the craft, the true test for any Hindi cinema filmmaker, with his control over melodrama, punctuating it with sensitivity, lacing it with humour, underlining it with detail, spiking the sad moments with the sweet, taking a cue from his ex-boss Karan Johar, and also cheekily paying a fine tribute to Hindi cinemas new master of mush.
The film also works as the most comprehensive tribute to love stories seen on screen over the years presented with contrastingly different styles. I mean watch Govinda regain his lost touch, especially when he says “Yeh Shaadi Nahin Ho Sakti” and you’ll know what I mean. Nikhil confidently struts through various moods and stories with some of the best scene transitions seen in recent times, though the film does stroll around leisurely, the narrative taking its own time to unfold.
Half an hour less would’ve done miracles for this film and saved it from the savage criticism it is likely to generate, but for those who like mush, this overdose is just perfect for the Valentine’s season.
(Just jotted down first thoughts in a hurry, will post an updated review once I watch it again at peace, minus all the public nuisance.)
isn’t the point that most remakes aren’t authorised, and hence just rip-offs? Scorcese was legit when he remade Infernal Affairs. From there on, whether he chose to lift shots etc. was his prerogative.
Well K, it depends on terms of the royalty agreement.
If Martin Scorcese has acquired rights to remake the film, it is only ethical to credit the original screenwriter.
On the contrary, the makers claim that their screenwriter had not even seen the original.
And even if he had got rights to remake the film, I really do not expect the master to use the same lines and shots.
The point here as far as Salaam E Ishq goes is that, the end product is very different from what it is seems inspired from.
Storywise or narrative wise. There is no question of royalty involved here, legally, at least.
There’s considerable value-addition made to these points of influence which makes me appreciate Nikhil Advani.
Pyaar Ke side effects is another film which did the same. Used Hollywood devices and plots but value added to an extent that it ends up distinctly different from its source. That’s the only point I was making with reference to this film.
FYI, the director of “Infernal Affairs”, was also the co-screenplay writer for “The Departed”, and it says so in the title cards, which is beside the point of this point. Still…
Thanks. I didn’t realise till you told me. Cuz the last time (was when I saw the movie two months ago) I went to verify on imdb, it didn’t have the original credits.
Your point noted. 🙂
Sudish.. I just noted something in ur comments sections.. most of your comments come as Anonymous.. the same comments were with the author’s blogger’s ID a couple of days back.. Dont know whether it has something to do with comment moderation setting in your account.. just a heads up.. if u can check that would great!! Sriram (Raghu’s friend!!!)
Public nuisance?! This is the first time you’ve called me that. Hmmm..adding it to the ever growing list.
“I’m making up a counter-list too!”
1st time here.. Nice blog..and reviews are 2 good..
I enjoyed reading those..
Sometimes I really like you, as a person. And sometimes I wish you weren’t so nice!
hey sudhish …it seems that ur post at PFC has been deleted …. what haapened yaar???
i migrated to the new blogger and I think those were the side effects of the migration. didnt realise you pointed it out.
awww… when i said public nuisance, i really meant nuisance the public was making but yes you were a part of that public if not all of it.
thanks a ton!
not you?? hmmm!!
i wanted a separate diary if they wanted exclusive articles and clips from my film and that it is not worth my time to invest a coupla hours to post in a general forum when i get double the number of hits here.
i wish them luck but i really don’t want to undersell myself. maybe some other time when it’s mutually beneficial.
Yet to see this but I feel I will have the similar opinion. There are few movies one should not watch with the group (or even with the people who are of different tastes) and I guess this is one of them.
Btw, just wanted to know how you (or other reviewers) differentiate between “tribute” , “spoof of a scene” and “rip off of a scene”