Let’s say Rock On, right at the script level, was handed over to a big banner and an established filmmaker to be made into a mainstream Bollywood film with 40-something stars Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan as young rock stars. Then, say a love triangle was added to it with intense old school melodrama involving self-flagellation and a heavy-duty dose of Punjabi Pra-therhood, underlined by a Salim-Sulaiman background score. And the big budget demanded that the film be located in London to cater to an international audience… You get a rock-tale cocktail that looks like London Dreams.
Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s London Dreams is the epitome of all that’s wrong with Hindi cinema.
1. Aging Stars Playing College Kids: Okay, let’s make an exception to 3 Idiots since it’s not out yet and we can be pretty sure that Rajkumar Hirani would explain what Aamir Khan is doing inside a college campus in a role other than the Professor’s. But for how many years can we believe that Salman Khan, who first played a young man 20 years ago, is still young.
2. Characters Who Do Strange Things: Flogging? Really? The film completely derails the moment you see something as bizarre and archaic as this, and nothing that follows could possibly set the disconnect right. And yet, we continue to make films where a surgeon leaves a watch inside her patient’s stomach ( Kambakkth Ishq).
Here, we understand he’s beating himself over something he doesn’t want to commit to yet and he feels like he has sinned but do we need a physical manifestation to get an idea of his intensity. Was Farhan Akhtar any less intense in Rock On?
3. Obsession With The Overseas Market: Because we want to sell these films abroad, we want to situate them there too… Even if the film is not in English. Why don’t we just make films that are in two languages (Hindi and English)? This film could’ve been set in India and there would be no difference to the outcome. If at all anything, it just seems more believable that Indian music would have millions of fans in India. Or, at least, you wish the makers took the pains to find out what genre of Indian music has become popular in the U.K. and to what extent before making a complete mockery of Indian cinema. Watch London Dreams with your British friends at the risk of embarrassing yourself for life.
4. Losing The Sub-Plot: It’s insulting to the audience when a filmmaker does not feel the need to tell you how all the pieces fell into place. Yes, a struggler hits the headlines by causing a traffic ‘jam’ at Trafalgar Square. Instantly and conveniently, two guys out of nowhere start jamming with him and insist on him being their band-leader. Asin is a glorified groupie who does not even have any great moves to be a dancer on stage. Yet, she’s part of the band because she’s the heroine, so what if she can’t play a mouth organ.
Again, very conveniently for the script, a street-smart bumpkin becomes a druggie overnight.
5. Abusing The Willing Suspension of Disbelief Card: Okay, let’s say we buy into the filmmaker’s desire to make us believe this band, without a single album, and an incomplete three-city tour, gets a full-house at 90,000-seater Wembley stadium but to expect us to believe that the band will get another chance at the venue or even in that country, after staging the biggest fiasco in recent history?
Dream on, fellows.
6. The Raj Of The Uncouth: Singh is King, be it Australia or Los Angeles and the Great Indian Boor needs to sow his wild oats in the Wild West. Be it Denise Richards or Kylie Minogue, they have found the rustic charm of our garam-blooded-desi-Dharmenders irresistible. “Angrezon Se Badla Lene Ka Waqt Aa Gaya Hai,” as Sallu (the only reason you must watch the film) announces before his conquest — a limo full of white women. And so when we see the Calistas of the world walk up to Ajay Devgn and say “You are so hot. Let’s celebrate. Your place or mine,” you wonder if your place was a good place to stay put instead of watching Dreams our filmmakers shouldn’t be having.
Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan, Asin, Rannvijay, Aditya Roy Kapur
Storyline: A struggling musician who’s into S&M turns his buddy into a druggie to fulfil his dream of becoming a rockstar
Bottomline: Unless you are into S&M or drugs, these Dreams could turn into your worst nightmare