Love stories are traditionally a staple diet for Indian cinema and in his quest to make ‘one love story in his lifetime’ Vipul Shah has created Namastey London which resonates perfectly with a global audience. Riding on the successful wave of cross-over cinema, Namastey London is a transitional and cross-cultural love story which considers the issues of socio-cultural conflicts in an entertaining and poignant style. The film deals with the love affairs of the youth on a global level; how the modern youth are living in the Western world in countries such as the UK, USA and Australia and how they perceive love compared to the younger generations living in areas such as Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai, and when these somewhat polarised communities meet the sparks this will generate.
Namastey London trails the story of Arjun (Akshay Kumar), a kind-hearted, homely character from the heart of Punjab who makes his way to London to win the heart of the British girl he has fallen in love with (Katrina Kaif) and the whole of Briton. Although the film is the epitome of ‘love on celluloid’, beneath the glossed, romantic layers, Namastey London unfurls to reveal a pivotal drama that speaks to all diaspora groups who have migrated from their place of origin to then settle in the West, and the plight migrants face with assimilating into the host culture and maintaining an affinity with what they call their ‘home’.
Since producing some of the most famous soap operas on Indian television, Vipul Shah made his directorial debut in films with Aankhen (2002) which had an unconventional theme of robbery by three blind men, with his next film Waqt receiving international critical acclaim. Namastey London is considered Vipul Shah’s most ambitious project till date, and will undisputedly propel him to become one of the most applauded directors of 2007.
Namastey London is extensively shot in London which forms the vital backdrop for the film. Almost 12-14 films are shot in the UK each year, contributing £20million to the UK’s economy. In recent years, London has been the hotbed of drama for Indian cinema especially for films similar to Namastey London that consider the topic of cross-cultural relations. This is supported by the fact that the UK’s population is rising by 500 people per day, indicating how the melting pot of cultures is reaching unsurpassed heights.
From the film’s cast through to its crew, from its subject matter through to its music, it is of no surprise why the hype, buzz and curiosity around Namastey London has continued to reach pinnacles. Namastey London has made history as it is the first product from Indian cinema to have an entire international and Hollywood production crew the objective being to make the film have an international feel and look in line with its global appeal. The film’s director of photography is Jonathan Bloom, location manager Keith Hatcher (Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone), head of art department and production design Paul Burns (The Business, The Football Factory) makeup artist Kateling (head makeup artist at the BBC), and casting director Claire Saunders (Match Point), reflecting the cross-cultural synergies integral to the film.
Vipul Shah has ensured that the cast of Namastey London physically resemble the characters they play. The story revolves around key central characters including A List and award winning star Akshay Kumar, aspiring actors Katrina Kaif and Upen Patel, legend Rishi Kappor, British actress Nina Wadia, acclaimed Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh and British actors Clive Standon and Tiffany McFadden who form the formidable cast.
The musical score for Namastey London is as exciting and a treat for music aficionados as is the film itself. Vipul Shah has brought together for the first time the unique combination of stalwart lyrist Javed Akhtar and current music sensation Himesh Reshammiya to compose the music of Namastey London. In bringing together the two music maestros, the music of Namastey London is an amalgam of class and mass and a musical score that truly befits the genre of the film.