December Issue 2009

By | Arts & Culture | Movies | Published 10 years ago

Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan in London Dreamspair up as best buddies whose friendship is tested by the travails of success and stardom. Growing up in a village together, Mannu (Salman Khan) and Arjun (Ajay Devgan) are polar opposites but they share a deep bond of friendship. Arjun desires to be a pop star like Michael Jackson whereas Mannu does not care to grow up: “Barey honey main 100 pangay hain,” he says flippantly.

Arjun single-mindedly pursues his dream of someday becoming a star and performing at Wembley Stadium. Fate takes him to London where he struggles on his own and makes his way into the music industry with his band called London Dreams. Devgan is the narrator of the story, and he plays Arjun stoically, as per his usual wooden style. Arjun follows masochistic guidelines in order to remain steadfast on his path to stardom. This includes chastising himself with his belt when he does give in to any human feelings.

Khan, true to his usual on-screen persona, is full of antics and risqué one-liners. He is endearing as the simple village boy who takes life easy, playing in a local wedding band. He is the life of the party and, indeed, the film (He is funny even when when he is weeping!). Arjun realises his best friend’s singing talent and brings Mannu to London to be part of his band. But things turn tricky when Mannu begins to overshadow Arjun. Khan delivers a spot-on performance as the vulnerable-village-boy-in-the-big-city as the momentum builds in the second half of the film. Arjun turns insidious as his friend unwittingly steals his thunder. And Mannu tries to make sense of his fast-changing life as the world of dreams comes crashing down around him.

The tragedy is that Arjun eliminates people from his life when he suspects they may come in the way of his dreams (one terrible example is how he wishes death upon his father at the beginning of the movie), but interestingly, all his friends seem to have his dream foremost in their minds and do their utmost to ensure his success. Asin Thottumkal features as a dancer for the band, but in between the two superstars she fails to deliver anything outstanding. Neither does the music, which is a major letdown considering this film is based on the making of a rock band. But the movie ends on a high note as the redeeming finale track sweeps the audience with warm and heartrending lyrics on friendship, and all is right with the world again.