Friday, October 30

London Dreams - Watch it for deadly performances from Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn!!

Movie - London Dreams (Hindi)
Director - Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Producer - Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Cast - Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Asin, Rannvijay Singh, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Om Puri
Music - Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy
Lyrics - Prasoon Joshi
Cinematography - Sejal Shah
Editor - Amitabh Shukla
Background Score - Salim/Sulaiman
Story, Screenplay - Suresh Nair
Dialogues - Ritesh Shah
Release Date - 30th October 2009

Vipul Shah has hardly made any bad movie so far. Be it his debut Aankhen, or the other films Waqt and Namastey London and his production Singh Is Kinng, all of them were good entertainers and were received well by the audience. London Dreams is probably his biggest movie so far in terms of scale as well as star value, because it has 2 superstars, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn, last seen together in the classic, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The movie is based on music and is set in London for most parts. It is the first time that Vipul is making a movie without his lucky mascot Akshay Kumar. It is Salman's third release within two months, after the blockbuster Wanted and the lukewarm Main Aurr Mrs Khanna. Ajay also had a release two weeks back called All The Best, an out and out comedy, which is completely different from this one and is still doing quite well. It is also Asin's second movie in Hindi after a very impressive debut in last year's biggest hit Ghajini

London Dreams tells the story of two friends, Arjun and Mannu. The whole story is narrated by Arjun (Ajay Devgn) who is just about to get close to realizing his ultimate dream. He remembers the incidents that led him till that point of life. Arjun was always passionate about music and wanted to be a musician right from his childhood. His father who was against it, dies suddenly, and he's taken to London by his uncle, played by Om Puri. He learns that his uncle is also dead against music, so he runs away from him and starts to live on the streets, making money by playing a flute and singing songs. He joins a music school and grows up to be a talented musician. His ultimate dream is to perform at the Wembley Stadium in London and he would do anything to get there. At the same time, Mannu (Salman Khan) is a carefree soul who lives in Punjab, sleeps around with girls, causes lots of trouble to the villagers and has his share of fun all the time. Arjun forms a band in London and a beautiful girl Priya (Asin) joins him. He slowly develops a liking towards but decides not to tell her about it till he fulfills his dream. On a visit to Punjab, he learns that Mannu has got amazing talent in music and he decides to take Mannu on to his band in London. Mannu goes to London and joins the band. But slowly, Mannu starts getting all the popularity that Arjun wished for and even Priya slowly falls in love with Mannu. Seeing all this, Arjun becomes jealous and insecure thinking that God gave everything what he wanted to Mannu, who never had any dream or dedication to music. He decides to ruin Mannu, to make himself the bigger star. What happens after this is what the movie is about. 

The movie is said to be inspired by a European classic, Amadeus. But since I havent seen that film, I cannot comment on it. For me, the premise of jealousy between two musicians who are also best friends was very interesting. This is the second movie I saw today written by Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah, first being Aladin, today's other big release.  The movie has millions of plot holes, but is still an engrossing watch, thanks to the performances and the decent screenplay. 

Ajay Devgn in intense roles is always good. He gives a great performance this time around too. His passion for music and the struggle for success is brought out very well in the initial scenes. But it is in the second half, that the actor in him gets challenged to perform even better, when he has to portray the emotions of jealousy, anger, hatred and all, without making the role being outright negative. He does it with comfortable ease and deserves an applause for that. His outburst in the climax was an awkwardly written scene, but he saves it to some extent with his performance. But his performance in the song sequences is very bad. He is stiff most of the time and does not look convincing as the rockstar who has such a huge fan following. But he makes up for that through his performance in the intense scenes, especially in the second half. Right after displaying great comic timing in All The Best, he does this intense role in London Dreams. This proves why Ajay Devgn is called a versatile actor. 

The heart and soul of London Dreams is Salman Khan. Though the movie is about Ajay's character, it is Salman who shines both in the story and in the movie. It is perhaps one his best performances ever. He is given the best scenes, lines and songs and he emerges as the star of the movie, by the time the movie gets over. We all know his talent in doing comic scenes. Here, apart from his comic talent, Vipul Shah also makes him perform well in the heavy duty emotional scenes, and makes us realize that Salman Khan can also act well. He does each scene in his own style, bringing a raw and earthy appeal to the character. His performance in the song sequences is awesome and he proves that he is a true rockstar. He is lovable and endearing throughout and you cant help but love him in the film. This year has been very good for Salman. He reinvented himself with Wanted, the second season of his show Dus Ka Dum was a runaway hit and he put in an okay cameo in Main Aurr Mrs Khanna. With London Dreams, he gives one of the year's best performances too. Watch out for him when he imitates Dharmendra so naturally in the song 'Manko Ati Bhavey'. He is absolutely brilliant in a scene where he creates many tunes for the same lyrics during the second half. 

Asin as Chennai Express (as Salman calls her in the movie) Priya puts in a decent performance. But she has a very short role and her talent is not given enough justice. Her South accent is lesser now, even though it would have worked if she had an accent since she plays a South Indian in this film. She makes a good pair with Salman and their song together in Paris was lovely to watch. Rannvijay has nothing to do but give stares throughout in the movie. He doesnt impress. Aditya Roy Kapur impresses in his short role. Om Puri is wasted.

The movies is illogical at many places. How did Ajay Devgn get the money to survive in London and go to a music school? Why wasnt he caught for not having a passport (which obviously would be with his uncle)? How can a mediocre song by an Indian capture the attention of so many Londoners so fast, turning him into an overnight sensation? If you are able to overlook these glitches, the movie would be quite good for you. I didnt mind these plot holes, but the writers should definitely have thought about them, especially when a good writer like Suresh Nair is in the writing department. 

Vipul Shah has narrated the film on a giant scale and the film has lavish production values and amazingly choreographed song sequences. The concert sequences are executed brilliantly, except for the fact that the computer generated audience/crowd were actually too huge for the group. The much more realistically filmed audience parts in Rock On!! were far more effective.  But still, Vipul has succeeded in showing the on-stage parts with maximum effect (though Ajay's acting in those parts could have been better). He uses Salman Khan very effectively and extracts a great performance out of him. Vipul is an expert at handling emotions as well as comic scenes with ease. He does it well in this film too.  There are several scenes which stay with you long after you leave the hall. 

Since the film is about a rock band, the music is very important. The music is good, but did not reach the brilliance of Rock On!! which was based on a similar theme. People expect much more than Rock On this time around, but Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy could not live up to those expectations. The songs 'Barso Yaaro', 'Khanabadosh', 'Manko Ati Bhavey' and 'Khwaab Jo' are brilliant. But the songs which come at crucial points, like the one where Ajay makes the first impression through 'Shola Shola', or the song at Wembley stadium, 'Jashn Hai Jeet Ka' are very poor. If the songs were better, the film would have made a better impact. But the Hanuman Chalisa during the Barson Yaaron and Salman's performance in that song takes it to another level. The movie goes to a great high due to all this, just before the interval sign appears. 

Cinematography by Sejal Shah is outstanding. The night scene in Bhatinda where Salman and Ajay talk after getting drunk is great work. The concert scenes have some awe inspiring lighting techniques used and we get thrilled seeing the play of the lights in the concert scenes. Editing by Amitabh Shukla is ok. The movie moves at a slow and steady pace. It could have been made crisper though. Salim-Sulaiman's background score is very good. 

All in all, Vipul Shah has made a good film with great performances from Salman and Ajay, especially Salman. If the music at crucial points was better and the writing a little more mature, the movie would have been brilliant. But now, the movie can just be called good. It is surely one of the better films of the year. Watch it for Salman Khan, the rockstar and Ajay Devgn, the intense actor. 

Rating - 3.5/5

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