Namaste England Review

In 2007, Katrina Kaif's independent and very British Jasmeet was tricked by her parents to come visit India and get married to Akshay Kumar's Param. Param is then tricked by Jasmeet to go to London where she plans to annul the marriage to Param because it is not registered and then she plans to get to a good ole British (read 'white') boy. Param's innocence and gentle goodness, his decency shows up the Brit boy's entitled racism, and Jasmeet comes back to Param. The film plays on TV even today and it is a decent watch despite the chest-thumping patriotic lesson Param gives a boat load of Brits.


Alas, they tried to fix something that isn't broken. And their logic is so convoluted and bizarre, that the story trips all over itself, opening itself to unintended, unkind laughter.


Parineeti Chopra plays Jasmeet to Arjun Kapoor's Param. The chemistry between them is not sexual at all, because they come across like siblings. Despite desperate dialog like,'You know I think dirty thoughts when you hug me like this!' and staring at each other with supposed seduction, their 'jodi' (pairing) is not romantic at all.


Jasmeet wants to work but her grandpa and brother (there are no other women in her family!) won't let that happen. The old man actually says that men are supposed to work and women are meant to have babies for the men. The old man lets Jasmeet marry Param, but only after getting Param's dad to promise him that Jasmeet will never work. The trouble is, they all have smartphones and apple computers and talk about email, but Jasmeet has never learnt that she can design jewelry from home... Sigh.


You try to like the one wedding song where everyone dances while making makes horns on head sign ('Dim Luck Luck') which begins to sound prophetic for the film. Jasmeet is so enamoured by living abroad that she is willing to go to any extent to get a visa. The one guy with visa connection in that part of rural Punjab is annoyed with Param and will make sure they never get one even to Bangladesh, let alone London. Don't ask. That drunk guy at the wedding scene is so pathetic, you want to forget it because you're surprised that Param and Jasmeet are doing the very Hindu ceremony of 'saat phere' instead of the four phere (the Lavan ceremony) around the sacred Guru Granth Sahib since they are all shown to be Sikh.


You are still trying to get around the 'women are born to bear babies' when you meet an illegal visa guy who suggests Param get married to a 'mem' who would then give him residency and a subsequent divorce for a price, after which Param can come back to India, remarry Jasmeet and take her away to London where she could work. What a convoluted way to get to work! They could just move to Bombay or something, and that would work just as well, no? Because they just show Jasmeet work slyly as a salesgirl after all that talk about designing jewelry.


Clearly no one from the filmmaking team has thought things through. The visa cheat annoys Param, so Jasmeet lies to Param and leaves for London after being married to an British Indian lad (Aditya Seal). Param is shocked, but like she says, 'Only you will understand.' That's true because no one in the audience has understood her at all. And no one really cares. But Param decides he is going to bring her back and travels all the way to Bangladesh (dodges bullets by cutting through a fence), gets on to a boat in a shipping container filled with illegal immigrants, travels all the way to Brussels, then by train to Paris and then to London. He gives so many moral science lessons about India has food, and opportunities for work, living abroad has no dignity and so on, you begin to understand why Jasmeet ran away.


Param decides to make Jasmeet jealous (and the movie is well into its second hour) and uses 'Jasmeet's new 'husband's best friend' and gets engaged to her. There is the India is best speech given to a sequined jacket wearing uppity Indian Brit (Virginia Woolf would roll in her grave!) and by this time, the rude things you are muttering under your breath, are being heckled aloud by others in the theater. The final nail in the coffin is Arjun Kapoor promising another film of the same kind soon. No, don't waste your time on this one. If you must say hello to London, watch the Akshay Kumar- Katrina Kaif film again.

Jasmeet is married to Param. But Jasmeet's grandpa and brother don't want her to ever work because women are made to bear children and take care of men. Jasmeet thinks moving to England will give her freedom to work. She will stop at nothing to get to England, including 'getting married' in name only to a rich Brit when she realises Param will never get a visa. Param then goes the illegal route to bring her back, pretending to marry another rich Brit when he gets there. Far-fetched, ridiculous a (1) - Manisha Lakhe


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