Namsatey London comes across as a film of lost chances thanks to an utterly uninspiring and obvious screenplay. What could have been a great romantic comedy between a Punjabi rustic man and a British Asian girl (and to be honest, the lead pair is in fine form) suffers from stereotypes, clichés, predictability and a total lack of depth.
Though initially thought to be an update of Purab aur Paschim (1970), the film is closer to being a Punjabi Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) of sorts looking at Jasmeet ala Jazz (Katrina Kaif) who is tricked by her father (Rishi Kapoor) into marrying a rustic Punjabi munda, Arjun (Akshay Kumar) whom he hopes will ‘sudhrofy’ his spoilt daughter as well as stop her from marrying her thrice divorced gora boss, Charlie Brown (Clive Standen). Of course she declares the marriage illegal in London, of course Arjun goes to London with her and decides to win her with love, of course conveniently her gora boyfriend is a stupid, spoilt brat as we cannot afford have a serious triangle with three well-fleshed out characters, of course all the goras are so shallow and ignorant for our hero to give them and our heroine an eye-opening bhashan on the greatness of India, of course the Punjabi munda would show up the gora on the dance floor, of course she realizes the errors of her ways…Oh well.
A romantic comedy works best as a battle of the sexes as opposites fight and then ultimately attract but in spite of undeniable chemistry between the lead pair (also apparent in the earlier film they’ve done together - Humko Deewaana Kar Gaye), they are defeated by the pedestrian writing. The scenes between the two are flat, obvious without any ups and downs whatever. Post interval the script totally runs out of ideas as Arjun makes Jazz see he is the right man for her as his wooing of her is neither innovative or attention holding and one is just yawningly waiting for the two of them to get together and the film to mercifully end.
A pity really because as mentioned above, the lead pair do lift the film several notches. Katrina Kaif is cast perfectly in a milieu familiar to her thus helping her pull through. That she is such a looker of course helps tremendously! Akshay Kumar is now becoming a reliably efficient actor. Though coming across more like a crass roadside jat rather than a loveable Punjabi munda in his earlier scenes, he is in fine form in his emotional scenes (his vulnerability with Rishi Kapoor over beer) even if the transformation from the likeable fun-loving man to sudden sensitivity is unconvincing. Rishi Kapoor is a delight as Jazz’s father. Here is a seasoned actor thoroughly enjoying himself. See him in the scene where he cannot help but laugh thinking of the rugby game played earlier or when he gets drunk at his daughter’s intended wedding to avoid walking down the aisle with her. Of the rest of the cast, mention must be made of Nina Wadia as his rustic wife who has adjusted in her own way in London.
Technically the film is just about adequate. Himesh Reshammiya’s music is non-happening and by the time you come to Chakna, otherwise the best composition in the film, you don’t really care. The songs, which unfailingly bring the narrative to a grinding halt, are further not helped by some extremely routine picturizations. The editing could have been tighter in particular the second half of the film that drags endlessly to its inevitable conclusion.
All in all, Namastey London comes across as a weak wannabe in the Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali tradition and is just about watchable at best.