Ajay and Salman together are magical
By MovieTalkies.com, 30 October 2009
Friends and friendship forms the subject of 'London Dreams'. Vipul Shah has made an interesting film but not a flawless one. However, because the film has a basic script in place and the actors are very believable in the characters they don, the film keeps one engrossed till the end, even though it goes a little haywire in places.
The film is about the friendship between Manu (Salman Khan) and Arjun (Ajay Devgn), one of who loves music, while the other runs away from it. But music remains a part of both their lives, consciously or unconsciously. While Arjun runs away from home to become a musician, Manu, without realizing it has music in his blood. Arjun makes a name for himself in London and forms a band called London Dreams, while his best friend Manu whiles away his time back in the Punjab, chasing women and running up debts. Arjun takes him to London after hearing his voice, thinking that he could be an asset to his band. But little does he realize that the simple Manu would win the heart of millions with his stage performance and totally overshadow him. Having laboured hard for his success, Arjun cannot bear being upstaged by anyone, even his closest friend. To top it, Manu also manages to win the heart of Priya (Asin), the woman Arjun loves. Jealousy takes over and Arjun plots and plans Manu's downfall. But with it, he unknowingly also triggers the downfall of his band and his dreams. A saddened and much wiser Arjun reconciles with his friend and his superior talent and again shares the stage with him.
A very good story on paper and Shah makes a compelling film out of it as well. There are just a few problems with the movie as Shah ventures in to territories which he doesn't intend to explore. The problems arise mainly with the characters of Manu and Arjun.
Let's take Manu first. He is shown to be a simpleton, only interested in having a good time in life. Manu is shown to be always running away from the music lesson given to him by his father. However, strangely, he turns out to be quite a pundit of music. Not only can he sing well, he also has a hold over different genres of music. There is a scene in the movie, when he takes a basic tune composed by Arjun and changes it to something phenomenal. Not only that, he displays a knowledge of rap, classical, and semi classical forms. All of this from an untutored singer!.
The bigger problem is with the character of Arjun. He is shown to be uptight, focused on his career with this hidden streak of self flagellation. He whips and punishes himself whenever he thinks he has committed a mistake. It is not a very normal reaction and points to some kind of psychological disorder. The director shows these streaks in him but never explores the dark side of Arjun fully. The director could have still shown jealousy and insecurity without getting into areas which he has little knowledge of and has little intention of exploring.
But fortunately for Shah, all of this does not mar his film totally. His actors get into their characters quite well. Ajay has a reputation of being an intense actor, and has time and again revealed his mastery over angst ridden characters and so he plays Arjun quite perfectly. Manu, is character from the other end of the spectrum and is everything that Arjun isn't. He is playful, spontaneous and has no chip on his shoulder. It's a role which is tailor made for Salman. He just slips into it with total ease and becomes Manu. In fact, Salman quite steals the scene with his uninhibited performance. Ajay, on the other hand, is quite restrained and underplays it most of the time. The two complement each other perfectly and share the honours equally. Asin is seen her in a slightly different avatar and does a good job. But since the film is mostly about the two guys, she has little to do in comparison. But she still manages to make an impact. Om Puri has a very small role but he essays it with ease. Both Ranvijjay Singh and Aditya Roy Kapur, who play the band members of London Dreams, have a very pleasant screen appearance and are quite effective in their bit parts.
Since music forms a major part of the film, one cannot but talk about the film's music. First things, the music which has been composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, has a very different kind of sound to it. The numbers are not exactly rock or pop numbers but ones which have a very desi flavour to them. They have been sung with great energy and picturised very well. Shah has spared no effort and costs in making the film and it is evident in the feel of the movie. There is different kind of London that one sees in this movie and cinematographer, Sejal Shah does a good job. However, the two and a half hour film could have been slightly trimmed, one feels. Shah has made an interesting film, but the drama could have been more compelling if he delved a little more into Arjun's darker side. But on the whole, London Dreams makes for a good watch.