because shirts with nonsensical words on them can only solve so many of the world's problems: Salaam Namaste
I have been waiting for months to see Salaam Namaste, ever since it played at the local art theater while I was out of town in October. As we all know, sometimes the longer and more excitedly you wait for something, the less chance it has of living up to your hopes, even if you try really hard not to formulate specific expectations, since you are well aware of the aforementioned inverse proportion.
In general, Salaam Namaste was along the lines of what I had thought it would be, with some extra especially appealing bits sprinkled throughout:
- textual shirts. There are many to talk about here, but there is one in particular I want to ask about. It's after they've met at the beach and Nick is discussing with his friend whether he should call Ambar, and he's wearing a gray tank top and jeans. The tank top is printed with lots of words, and despite various pauses I could only see, clearly, a few of them, but they included I COULD HAVE CMS, TV IS MY LIFE, and THE PANTY. Kya?!?
- the fabulous city of Melbourne
- two endearing best friend/sidekick characters (and I'm not talking about Cathy)
- the phrase "bring it on" - and it was even used in the very best possible way: as random English stuck in a mostly Hindi song (think MHN's "wicked" and "this party's goin' to town")
- a rendition of "Autumn Leaves"
- thoroughly integrated graphic design - if I'm not mistaken, the credits, the subtitles, and the radio station's promotional materials were all in the same font
- a narrating Bachchan
- in one of the early "we hate each other" scenes, Saif yelling "Hambarrrr! Hambarrrrr!" and rolling his Rs with gusto. I laughed so hard at that.
But there was a major plot point that surprised me. I had no idea that the main relationship fell apart for months, that there was so much of yelling and pulling down of curtains. Somehow this struck me as poignant (relatively, anyway). When Ambar sat on the patio sobbing I felt really, really sad. We all know what it's like to cry like that - not dainty tears, but sobs that make you get as close to the floor as you can because something you were counting on is suddenly out from under you. And although maybe it's just because in the last 24 hours I've been in as many moods, I find myself nodding along when Nick tried to convince Ambar to give the relationship a go even though the odds were bad, saying "Yeah, man" in a Big Lebowski sort of way. In my head, of course.
What I mean to say is that this movie was not nearly as fluffy as I had thought it would be. There was still fluff - the wedding flirting and the late-night ice cream hunt, for example - but it also struck me in ways I was not expecting. Preity did a great job doing what she usually does (or so it seemed to me), and Saif again took something that could have been cardboard and made it dimensional, with humor and edge and care.
Aside to costume person: I know she's Preity and pretty, but did you have to put a word on her butt? Tacky.
Aside to composers: every time I hear the title song it gets lodged in my head for days, and now it's even worse since I know the pounding, repetitive dance that goes with it. How did you do that? The rest of the music was completely forgettable.
Aside to someone who works out details of script: before I smack you with a quote from your own movie - "their logic switch is permanently off" - I will give you a chance to explain how a med student, who is advanced enough to be in a hospital seeing patients, has time to do a regular radio show, how a Hindi-language station is the most popular station in Melbourne, and how these two characters could possibly have afforded that house, let alone the additional furnishings, fancy tv, etc inside it? I know this happens in sets a lot, but there is a lot of talk about lacking money here, so why didn't you make that cohere?
Aside to readers curious if anyone else has made a website that chronicles Saif's silly shirts in this movie: if your mind runs to the investigative and researchy on topics like this, as mine does, do not, do not, do not google "Salaam Namaste" + panty. You'll be sorry.