The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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24-armed love epic


Director: Nikhil Advani
Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takia, Govinda, Shannon Esrechowitz, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, John Abraham, Vidya Balan, Sohail Khan, Ishaa Koppikar

It sounds like an orgy, this one, with a lovey-dovey dozen thrown into the same storyline and film. But, no, itís the pristine story of love and you have six different pairs playing out their one-track mind. Nikhil Advani makes it a braver attempt than Ram Gopal Varma, as in love, darna mana hai 12 times over. The attempt, however, doesnít quite reach out to the ambition.

Like the curatorís egg, Salaam-e-Ishq is good only in parts. It certainly has plenty of spit and polish, and the treatment keeps seamlessly changing gears. There is narrative tension, humour-laced dramatics and wafty romance to make Yash Chopra bite enviously into his chiffon dupattas. In such a film, however, Advani plays it right by getting his funny scenes and lines right even if the drama looks drummed up and out a bit. Where he goes a little askew is after the intermission when the film tries out the glycerine. It does taste just like saline water and nothing else, as Rajesh Khanna put it in Amar Prem to Sharmila Tagore.

Unentangling 24 arms, though admittedly not all entangled together, naturally leads to something like a 220-minute love epic, but then neither has Advani practised writing Mahabharata nor has he chosen to be Vatsayan.

In this Team Love India, which begins to resemble the probables for the World Cup cricket, you actually start looking for who has been left out or Ďrestedí.

Akshaye and Govinda are in their element, and the latter hasnít lost his touch or sense of comic timing yet. Anil comes next. Among the heroines, the South African mem is impressive, so is Ayesha. But Vidya sidles past charmingly. And the rest' They could be rested in the next match.

Anil Grover

Pace, but no thrill

The Sentinel

Director: Clark Johnson
Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Basinger

This mole story directed by Clark Johnson, fizzles out in much the same way as the one by Jaswant Singh did. The story would like us to believe that Michael Douglas, the Special Secret Service agent in The Sentinel, a film apparently based on a novel by Gerald Petievich, is the mole and is involved in the plan to assassinate the President. Bad news for Clark is that not for a moment is one really convinced about it.

But Michael decides to run and then begins the chase thatís supposed to thrill the audience. As a political thriller, it sort of falls flat, with the moments of suspense too few and far. The President comes across as wooden and lifeless and with so little charisma that one couldnít really give a damn about the plan to assassinate him. His wifeís affair with Douglas doesnít have much of fizz either. Especially after one knows the kind of drama an affair in the Presidential quarters is capable of generating.

The pace is fine enough. A little more of thrill could have made it work.

Deepali Singh

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