Movie Review by Lisa Henshall
Starring: Salman Khan, Ali Larter, Nandana Sen, Ian Bohan, Gulshan Grover
Director: Willard Carroll
Marigold Lexton (Ali Larter) is beautiful, unscrupulous, arrogant and a total bitch. When she arrives in Goa to star in ‘Karma Sutra 3’ only to find the production has collapsed and the backers are in jail, she’s stranded with just her looks and a bad attitude. Luckily she catches a break and calms down long enough to blag a role on another film which is shooting just up the road, but this time it’s a proper Bollywood feature film with singing and dancing. The director loves the idea of having a blonde American in his film and sets about re-writing the script, except he doesn’t know that Marigold can’t dance and to top things off her ambitious co-stars aren’t too chuffed at having to share the limelight with an outsider.
Enter one of Bollywood’s real life acting legends, Salman Khan (here in his first English speaking role) playing the film’s choreographer. Prem is the opposite of Marigold, he’s kind, thoughtful and generous and yet he takes a shine to Marigold and decides not only to help her get in touch with her inner goddess and learn to dance, but also to show her that she’ll get a lot more out of life with a better attitude.
This is possibly the closest marriage of east meets west in a romantic comedy since Gurinder Chadha’s BRIDE & PREJUDICE. If you enjoyed that film then you will love MARIGOLD. It’s got a great script, a silly but utterly adorable love story and above all an absolutely excellent soundtrack. If you like a bit of Asian flava and rhythm to your music you’re going to love the song and dance numbers (I’ve already ordered a copy of the soundtrack from eBay).
The film’s American writer and director, Willard Carroll (TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN), obviously has a passion for all things Indian and he’s made sure that the film is a perfect balance of west meets east and the best combination of both worlds. Ali Larter (currently in the fantastic HEROES TV series) is charismatic, funny, sassy and really carries the film – the supporting cast are all excellent too.
The only slight disappointment for me was to find that Salman Khan was just as wooden in English as he is in Hindi. He’s a rather mediocre actor who could do with a few acting/dancing lessons, but he’s good looking and certainly has charm, and luckily for us Ali more than makes up for anything lacking in Salman’s performance so their scenes together are still great.
So if you like your romantic comedies with colour and flavour then you’ll love this movie and be humming the tunes as you leave the cinema afterwards. It’s a visual and aural feast and if you haven’t had much experience of India, past the odd curry from your local take-away, then this is a great place to start!