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  1. #1
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    Feb 2009

    Thumbs up Review: 'London Dreams'

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    'London Dreams' has superb performances from its principal cast and several emotionally-charged sequences as its two trump cards.

    'London Dreams', directed by Vipul Shah, talks of two musicians, thick pals actually, and how jealousy drives a wedge in their friendship.

    Let's clear a few myths before discussing the positive and negative factors of this film. 'London Dreams' is not 'Baiju Bawra'. 'London Dreams' is not 'Rock On!!', 'Abhimaan', 'Yaarana' or 'Saajan' either. The truth is, 'London Dreams' borrows from Milos Forman's brilliant film 'Amadeus' [1984], which was based on Salieri and Mozart's life.

    'London Dreams' is a complete departure from Vipul Shah's earlier outings, 'Aankhen', 'Waqt' and 'Namastey London'. This film is about relationships and tends to get very real and intense, in the post-interval portions specifically. The scale of 'London Dreams' is gigantic and the execution of concerts [it's about a band] sweeps you off your feet.

    In terms of execution, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that 'London Dreams' is amongst Vipul Shah's most accomplished works to date. Also, it boasts of incredible performances by Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn. But there are hiccups too and it's these deficiencies that bog the film down!

    It takes time to get into Ajay's world [its Ajay who's narrating the story here]. The film moves back and forth and it's only when the two buddies, now adults, meet that you realize where the story is headed. The first hour depicts the two extreme characters - Ajay, who's an introvert and who cannot think of anything but his goal and Salman, a happy-go-lucky guy, laidback and fun-loving, least focused.

    The narrative has some interesting moments in the first hour, but the actual story unravels only towards the second half. The first half, frankly, only sets things up for the explosive drama that is to follow. The wheels start moving when Ajay plays a vicious game and hatches a conspiracy to ruin his buddy's career.

    It's the second hour that does the trick. You can't help but carry several sequences in your heart, even after you've made an exit from the auditorium...

    But there're roadblocks too. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is a downer. 'London Dreams' is about a rock band, about music, about concerts and the music had to be the soul of the film. Unfortunately, it's not! The songs have been filmed in the most energetic fashion, but how one wishes its music was one of the strengths of the film.

    Also, the film could've concluded when the two friends re-unite at the station. Adding one more song thereafter only dilutes the impact of the emotionally correct sequence that has just been witnessed. Besides, the song in question hasn't been promoted either, so it only comes across as an aberration.

    Prior to that, Ajay's outburst at the end of the concert is far from convincing. The film has a real feel, real characters and real situations, but the outburst looks unreal and is one of the drawbacks, from the writing point of view. It's just not convincing!

    Besides, Ajay's childhood character is shown fleeing from the airport and making it big in a foreign land [London], without any support whatsoever. It's unpalatable!

    Vipul Shah has handled this intricate subject well, but the writing could've been tighter. Sejal Shah's cinematography is super. Brownie points for capturing the concerts brilliantly. Salim-Sulaiman's background score matches international standards.

    Both Salman and Ajay vie for top honours. Salman has a role that the junta would take to instantly and the actor too endears himself to the viewers. He's stupendous. When it comes to displaying intensity on screen, very few can live up to the standards set by Ajay. To state that he packs in a power-packed performance would be an understatement. They, in fact, compliment each other wonderfully well.

    Asin is admirable and pairs off very well with Salman. She is sure to have a new name after this film - Chennai Express [that's how Salman addresses her affectionately, all through the film]. Om Puri has a brief role. Aditya Roy Kapur is very good and registers an impact. Rannvijay Singh doesn't get much to do, except throw nasty looks at Salman. Manoj Pahwa provides some funny moments. Brinda Parekh is okay.

    The biggest drawback of 'London Dreams' is its climax and also the music, which is the weakest link of the movie.




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