‘Namaste England’ revisits Vipul Shah’s old-world romance

Mumbai: The first ‘Namaste in Namaste London came ten years back. It was an honest sweet gentle film about an NRI London-bred girl Katrina Kaif’s attempts to adjust in marriage to a Punjabi rustic man Akshay Kumar who adores her to death. Director Vipul Shah wanted to make the sequel with the same pair but things didnt work out.

Shah’s long-standing association with Akshay Kumar ended abruptly. It is a setback that he doesn’t talk about at all.

It took the producer-director ten years to direct another film.

He is happy with the way “Namaste England” has shaped up. Looking at the trailer, so are we. It seems to take us into a quaint universe where the dramatic complexities are created by cultural rather than emotional conflict between the lead pair.

This time it is Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, who made their joint debut in Habib Faisal’s “Ishaqzaade” violent brutal interpretation of Romeo and Juliet rooted in the fiercely internecine caste and communal system. This time in “Namaste England” there is little opposition or tension in their relationship from the outside.

Says Vipul, “I wanted to make a gentle romantic film where the conflicts are very basic, very relatable. I think I’ve succeeded in doing that.”

Vipul took ill recently and had to be hospitalized. But the film didn’t suffer on account of his health. “I had finished all my work on the film when I took ill. So there has been no setback due to my health. We are ready to release on 19 October.”

The trailer shows Parineeti’s Jasmeet fleeing to London to escape the stifling patriarchal bastion of Punjab. Arjun Kapoor playing the devoted duty-bound husband follows her to London to bring her back. But the lady has other plans.

While revelling in the rites of a traditional rural Punjabi family the film seems to suggest that the female population of rural India desperately needs to find its voice. A supportive spouse helps. This is not the first time that Arjun Kapoor plays a caring empathetic husband willing to relinquish the traditional role in a marriage to let his spouse take the lead. But this is the first time that Arjun plays a husband with a hygiene problem.

On two occasions in the trailer, he is heard talking about his lack of care for basic hygiene. Maybe it’s just a joke. Then again maybe it’s not. Either way we don’t want kids telling their mothers, “Why should we brush our teeth when Arjun Uncle doesn’t.”