Connect with us


17 Years Of Namastey London: Celebrating Film That Changed Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif’s Careers



17 Years Of Namastey London: Celebrating Film That Changed Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif’s Careers (Image credit: IMDb)

In Vipul Shah’s Namastey London, Akshay Kumar played a new version of Manoj Kumar in Purab Aur Paschim. Akshay Kumar ripped off Manoj Kumar’s entire Hai preet jahaan ki reet sadaa sequence from Purab Aur Paschim. In that film, Manoj had sermonized a smoky pub filled with phony firangis in London on the virtues of being Indian. Akshay did the same in Namastey London.

That’s where the new Patriotic Kumar was born.

That’s when AK’s marketing team sat down to re-work his image to a patriotic pitch. Not only would he play characters who are patently patriotic he would also work towards the betterment of society by projecting a squeaky-clean image… no more naughty stuff like wifey opening his pant’s button in public. The new desh-bhaktis heard and seen working relentlessly towards the betterment of society: paying all his taxes on time, self-defence for girls, contributing to soldiers’ welfare, etc.

Speaking after the release of Namastey London, Akshay Kumar had said to this writer, “Am I being called the new Manoj Kumar and the new patriotic hero? Proud to be both. Manoj Saab is a legend, Unka hamare desh ke oopar bahot Upkar hai.”

Akshay punned on Manoj Kumar’s first patriotic film Upkar.

For Katrina Kaif too, Namastey London was a turning point.

In a throwback interview she said, “I’m tired of waiting for my films to work. I know I am just three-films-old and my first film Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya was quite a success. But I still haven’t been able make a place for myself.”

The actress, who found the perfect part of a Londoner in Namastey London so early in her career, said, “When Shah (that’s what she called Vipul) offered me the role, I wasn’t very sure I could pull it off. Once I was on, he gave me the freedom to interpret the character how I wanted. That really helped me to come to grips with my character’s language and personality. Some reviewer in Mumbai commented that I pronounced words wrongly. Hello! This is probably some guy who has spent his life in Mumbai. I lived in London and know how to speak like young Indians out there. I’ve a good mind to dash off a letter to him.”

In fact, one of Katrina’s chief attractions in doing Namastey London was that she had the chance to finally dub her own lines. “But you won’t believe this, I finally wanted to chicken out of dubbing my own lines. I had this lengthy 45-minute discussion with Shah, convincing him why I couldn’t dub. He heard me out quietly. I think, secretly he had decided I’d do the dubbing. I finally relented. But I made the sound recordist’s life miserable. He finally told me to get out of the recording studio and return only during my next film. Thankfully, it’s turned out well now.”

She was grateful to Akshay Kumar for agreeing to do Namastey London with her. “Not too many actors in his position would want to do a female-oriented subject. But Akshay had absolutely no qualms. I like that. People are talking about the compatibility visible between us in Namastey… but it was the other film (Humko Deewana Kar Gaye) where we really had all the fun. This time it was a far more serious business. Off-camera we were discussing scenes, getting our stance right, and so on. In Namaste…, Shah and I had more fun. Before the film released, I’d ask him the same question 20 times. I guess I was just nervous. He would patiently answer the first few times and then cut me short saying, ‘The answer isn’t going to change, no matter how many times you ask me.’”

Continue Reading