Love and marriage are two vital ingredients in Bollywood films, and it's rare for one not to lead to the other. Kudos therefore to writer/director Siddharth Raj Anand for taking a more contemporary look at love and relationships in Salaam Namaste, a romantic comedy in which an Indian chef (Saif Ali Khan) and radio jockey (Preity Zinta) prefer to share a bed than get wed. Littered with laughs and one-liners, this is one entertainer that dares to defy convention.
Away from their traditional families in India, Nick (Khan) and Ambar (Zinta) are living their dream life down under in Melbourne. But when a meeting at a friend's wedding leads to them falling in love, the independent duo take a leap of faith by moving in together. No big deal if you're a Caucasian couple, but in the world of Bollywood this is as bold as it gets. Soon Ambar's untidiness and Nick's fondness for the sports channel takes it toll. But that's nothing compared to the shock in store when they discover Ambar is pregnant.
"RISQUÉ BUT RESPONSIBLE"
By openly discussing taboo subjects like contraception and sex before marriage, and avoiding clichés of extended families and lavish weddings, Anand manages to create a Hindi romp that is risqué but responsible in its examination of the psychology of love and differences between the sexes. However, bearing a more than passing resemblance to Hollywood rom-com Nine Months means missing out on prizes for originality. Nevertheless quirky performances from Khan and Zinta, and a madcap cameo by Javed Jafferi as their Crocodile Dundee-style Indian landlord, makes Salaam Namaste an affair to remember.
Music by Vishal & Shekhar.
In Hindi with English subtitles.