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23 8월, 2007

He brings us flowers, but what a stinker!

Take your typical Bollywood and Hollywood banality, add bad acting, even worse directing and to pull it together, a liberal dose of two of the potentially worst dancers ever to grace a bollywood screen at the same time and you have the perfect recipe for Marigold (2007). My first thought when I heard about this movie about 6 months ago was "Salman Khan as a choreographer? You have GOT to be joking." I laughed long and hard, and as it turns out, I was right.

Ali Lantrey (of NBC's Heroes fame) plays Marigold, a D list actress with such cinematic gems as Basic Instinct 3 under her belt. A "four star bitch" if ever there was a stereotypical one, she is stranded in Goa when the financing for her latest flick goes south, and by typical movie manipulation, she ends up with a bit part in a bollywood production in the making 2 years and counting. There she comes across Prem (Salman Khan) the choreographer for the movie, and there love begins. They cavort, they listen to music on the beach, fulfill grandmother's predictions and find out they are made for each other. That gooey mess on your face right now? My brains splattered all over the place, having exploded from the sheer level of inanity that this movie absolutely wallows in.

Bollywood cliches abound here. Wind machine? Check. Crossed lovers? Check. Twists (if you didn't see any of these twists coming a mile away, you have never watched a single rom com. Ever.)? Check. Even the background music was rehashed from earlier, and what i am definitely certain of, more successful, movies.

From the get go this movie had me in stitches for all the wrong reasons. Anybody who's seen a Salman Khan movie must know that the dude cannot dance. To compensate usually extras dance around him, the camera never stays on him too long, and the female lead in the movie is pretty much spectacular. His first scene has him dancing. 'Nuff said. His acting fared little better, coming accross as either comatose, or paralysed from the scalp down, accompanied by a monotone voice (the English dialogue I'm guessing didn't help any). Ali Larter, poor dear, is neither a superb actress, nor is she blessed with rhythm either. Marry that with the awkwardness of being unfamiliar with the music and the dance steps used in bollywood, and you have one uncomfortable person on screen, looking like she ain't got a clue. With both actos dancing together, my heart truly went out to the choreographer who must have been suicidal by the time this catastrophe was done.

The dialogue was, what's that word again...bilious. Now I get that this is meant to appeal to a wider audience, but I assume that audience can actually read, so subtitles should not have been a problem. There should have been a lot more conversation in Hindi, because frankly, the scriptwriter(s) must have gone through their A to Z of things to say in a rom com and unceremoniously dumped it on a piece of paper. The dialogue was wholly unoriginal coupled with a whole lot of bad acting.

I think the movie may have, at some point in its distant past, tried to be both an homage to, and poke fun @, bollywood but it took itself much too seriously and hung itself while doing so. The music is humdrum, but on the plus side the Indian countryside and scenery look great, if a filmed a little undewhelmingly, and costuming was pretty solid (except for Salman and that white fringed travesty). In the end, this venture was an exercise in waste, of time, of talent, and of money and I sincerely hope that nobody chooses this as their first Indian movie, 'cos man this bit the big one.

-1 (yes you read right, minus) out of 5. An expected but still painful disappointment

Video: Making of Marigold

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