Here's a suggestion: Don't get deceived by this cleverly titled and marketed film, releasing at a time when India-Pakistan relations are at their lowest.
Call it a sham, an action-packed masala potboiler, a revenge drama, a love story. Contrary to its title, Maa Tujhe Salaam is anything but a patriotic film.
Conventional films begins with plots. If that's the premise, then this one is most unconventional. There is no plot to speak of in this film. Here's what I could glean from what I saw:
Major Pratap Singh (Sunny Deol) is a valiant army officer, leading his battalion into the snow-clad mountains of Kargil. When not swapping manly stories about his escapades with terrorists, Pratap serenades dream girl Sonia (Tabu) at exotic locations. Sonia is a military intelligence officer herself. Though there is not much of that to go by -- her intelligence is limited to romancing her beau.
Cut to Jhonabad (a small town at the foothills of Kashmir), which functions on the whims and fancies of Lala Sultan (Tinnu Verma). Lala, along with his tyrant brothers, secretly nurses the dream of turning Kashmir into an independent nation. He therefore collaborates with Pakistani terrorist Gulbaksh (Sudesh Berry) who actually wants to merge Kashmir and Pakistan.
Where does that leave the hero of this film, Albaksh (Arbaaz Khan)? An orphan brought up by Lala, he is obliged to be part of all his shoddy dealings. By the interval, however, both Albaksh and the audience realise they have been taken for a ride.
What happens next? Good wins over evil, of course. Pakistan is asked to take a hike.
Here are a few other implausible gems I noticed: For director Tinnu Verma, a brilliant scheme to nab terrorists would be to have intelligence officer Tabu shake her butt, belly and all, and burst into song. Also, Indians are shown freely ridiculing Pakistanis. The Pakistanis of this film pride themselves on being two-faced traitors.
On the acting front, Arbaaz Khan exudes raw intensity and vulnerability. His newly acquired toned and tough physique adds a roughness to his reckless character.
After Chandni Bar, watching Tabu in this film is a HUGE disappointment. An actress of her calibre is reduced to an excuse for a song here.
Sunny Deol, in a glorified special appearance, is the stuff heroes are made of: He woos the girl, fights the baddies, mouths anti-Pakistani lines, wins the battle and survives three bullets after a miraculous operation.
As for first-timer Tinnu Verma, his direction and acting skills leave a lot to be desired. Action sequences are his forte. He would be better off sticking to them. The music only lenghtens this brainless adventure for 40 extra minutes.
I would advise you here, to not waste your time and money on Maa Tujhe Salaam. You are, truly, better off watching the war of words between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President General Pervez Musharraf on your television.