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Marigold: Salman's worst mistake
D Morgan

A still from Marigold
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August 17, 2007 12:42 IST

Director Willard Carrol's Marigold plays like an unedited video blog -- offering a stereotypical view of Bollywood and India, much like a foreigner that takes pictures of half-naked street beggars, overcrowded trains and cows on the road.

The film is a mix of a variety of genres with a story and screenplay that is as difficult to nail down as a blob of mercury.

Marigold gets it wrong from the word go.

Marigold Lexton (Ali Larter [Images] of the hit television series, Heroes) is an arrogant, rude and undisciplined film actress on a flight to Mumbai to film Kama Sutra 3, in Goa [Images]. After a few misadventures, Marigold finally arrives in India only to discover that her film has shut down, and the slimy crooks that were producing it are lodged comfortably in a jail cell.

Thankfully, a production assistant (Suchitra Pillai) bails her out of the situation by offering her a ride back to Mumbai after a quick stop at a film set nearby.

On the sets, mesmerised by her white skin and beauty, the director Manoj (Rakesh Bedi) and choreographer Prem (Salman Khan) offer her a part in the movie after she assures them that she can dance -- it is after all, a Bollywood musical. 

However, the dilemma is that Marigold cannot dance. But for some weird inexplicable reason Prem is smitten, and makes it his personal mission to make Marigold 'feel the music'. Marigold, on her part, cannot resist Prem's sleepy eyes, patient Indian culture, and is especially delighted when she knows that he doesn't want to sleep with her.

But all is not bright under the Goa sun, and a conflict surfaces. It turns out that Prem is a prince, whose marriage is already arranged. The drama then shifts to a huge haveli owned by his father, Mahendra (Vijendra Ghatge).

Very soon, Marigold's boyfriend arrives looking for her while Prem's bride to be (Jhanvi) comes home after three years in Los Angeles. Naturally, all this comes as a rude shock to Marigold. She soon discovers that the traditions she finds so appealing and exotic come with a heavy duty sacrificial certificate.

It doesn't take rocket scientist to guess Prem's decisions, and the frustratingly never-ending climax ends predictability.

Marigold is a dull, slow and badly paced Bollywood soap opera with flat characterisations and badly telegraphed plot points with sporadically listless songs (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) thrown in for good measure. By now, the story (or lack thereof) is all over the place and we are restlessly scrambling for a hint of creative salvation.

Salman Khan [Images] can easily count Marigold amongst his worst mistakes. His eyes look puffy, his expression glazed and his accent is heavier than Ali Later's. Also, Salman Khan is no great dancer and casting him as a choreographer is an incredibly unintelligent decision. Like with Salaam-E-Ishq [Images], he sleepwalks through this role.

Ali Larter, who is impressive in Heroes, looks clueless in this venture and her bitchy-diva routine gets irritating after the first five minutes. Also, Ali is not a graceful dancer and neither is she strikingly pretty nor overtly personable as an actress.

Director Willard Carrol had the right intention but his anglicising of the world's largest film industry leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

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