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The law of opposites



"Salaam Namaste".

Salaam Namaste

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Siddharth Raj Anand
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arshad Warsi with plenty of guest appearances
Storyline: Love curdles when there's responsibility involved or does it?
Bottomline: Opposite attracts, still

The reason you can't really take Salaam Namaste seriously is because it doesn't want to be taken seriously. How else can you explain the way it neatly fits into the Yash Raj Films category created by Hum Tum? The first half of the film has everything you'd watch a Yash Chopra film for, it's pretty, there's a wedding, everyone dances, people fall in love.

If you are not into that kind of revelry, chances are you'll be bored stiff. But then there's a forwardness that's still quite new to Hindi films. It's becoming the new formula but it's still fresh enough to be an observation. After Nick (Saif Ali Khan) calls Ambar ka number (that's Preity Zinta's), he suggests that they move in together.

There is a surprising realness about the whole thing. At the first sign of trouble, our dashing hero with his over-gelled hair and his baby pink ganji ups and runs. The problem with the acting in this film is that both Saif and Preity are playing characters that everyone knows they are good at. This time, Saif's coolness is a bit annoying and you'd wish Preity's bubbliness would lose its fizz.

But things look a lot brighter during the second half of the film when everyone's too immersed in the story. Preity especially does a good job with the hysterics. Abhishek Bachchan does a cameo as the geeky, fumbling doctor at the end of the film. Unrecognisable, but well done. There are plenty of caricature characters that can be annoying if you're not feeling particularly tolerant, but quite funny if you are tuned to the masala.

Arshad Warsi as Saif's best friend is the only absolutely faultless performance. Watch out for interesting guest appearances — Mrs Warsi with the little Warsi Zeke Zidaan. There's even a glimpse of Preity's boyfriend Ness Wadia as an extra.

SUSAN MUTHALALY

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