Namaste England movie review: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra's romance suffers from a dull, infantile script
Namaste England is so dated in its ideas, storytelling and design that it even makes a stimulating city like London look rusty.
How far will you go for love? That is the thought often explored in Hindi cinema. In director Vipul Shah’s romantic comedy, it is more like, how far will you go for British residency.
Eleven years ago, Shah had explored the theme of immigrants and identity in Namastey London (starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif). Over a decade later, Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra take centrestage in this Punjab to Piccadilly love story.
In the colourful fields and farms of Punjab, Param (Kapoor) and Jasmeet (Chopra) have a number of cute dates. These are facilitated by a group of supportive friends who are ready with innumerable excuses to get Jasmeet out of her oppressive grandfather’s house. These friends and their attempts to play cupid are the most, and perhaps only really entertaining, part of this juvenile story.
Jasmeet’s grandfather is an old-fashioned chauvinist who believes a girl’s role is as a homemaker, not as breadwinner. But Jasmeet thinks otherwise. Her ambition is to have a career as a jewellery designer.
In contrast, Param lives with a jovial and supportive family. He is an encouraging husband, ready to move mountains to make Jasmeet’s wishes come true. Top of the list is her desire to move to London.
To recap: Jasmeet wants a career. Jasmeet wants to live in London. Jasmeet will choose means fair or foul to get the UK residency. Param loves Jasmeet. Param loves Punjab. Param will choose means fair or foul to get himself to London. Param himself summarises her obsession when he says, “Aurat ka affair ek mard se nahin, ek sheher se hai” (the woman is not having an affair with another man, but with a city). Yet, Shah hardly captures the inviting energy of London that would convince the viewer of the city’s charm.
Satish Kaushik makes an appearance as a local travel agent skilled in enabling illegal immigration. One segment in the film is a bit of a dummies guide to unlawful entry into Europe.
On arrival in the British capital, Param and Jasmeet encounter less colourful characters and many clichés — NRIs with a disdain for India, illegal immigrants and their angst at having left a family behind, the falsehoods of a perceived “better life”. There is also a standard patriotic speech during which Param (who is the 'perfect man') extols the virtues of the homeland, leading to some awkward expressions from Chopra, which we assume were meant to depict pride.
The supporting cast includes Aditya Seal, Alankrita Sahai, Anil Mange and Mallika Dua. The lead duo struggles to bring its A-game and, in their defence, it is tough to deliver something substantial when the material (written by Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah) is so infantile.
The loose direction, tepid interaction between the leads, an immature premise, dull locations, and Jasmeet and Param’s illogical actions are exasperating. Namaste England is so dated in its ideas, storytelling and design that it even makes a stimulating city like London look rusty.
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