Eighty-year-old actor-turned-filmmaker Dev Anand is a legend in the Indian film industry, but this sunny romance which he wrote, produced, directed and stars in is a crudely executed affair that doesn't play well to Western sensibilities. Vivacious, beautiful Sweety (Henee Kaushik), the pampered daughter of billionaire philanthropist Shaan...read more
Eighty-year-old actor-turned-filmmaker Dev Anand is a legend in the Indian film industry, but this sunny romance which he wrote, produced, directed and stars in is a crudely executed affair that doesn't play well to Western sensibilities. Vivacious, beautiful Sweety (Henee Kaushik), the pampered daughter of billionaire philanthropist Shaan (Anand), is pursuing a career as a journalist in New York. While covering the New Year's Eve 2000 festivities in Times Square, two young men — successful, California-based computer engineer Raj (Shoeb Khan) and poor-but-determined Bobby (Chaitanya Chaudhary), who's recently come to New York to make his fortune — fall in love with Sweety. Sweety likes both, but her first loyalty is to her widowed father, who's recently moved to California, which seems to give Raj an edge, until Bobby lands a job working for Shaan. Over the course of the year, Shaan is persuaded to nurture the musical ambitions of Angela (newcomer Siya Rana), a neighbor's daughter, and Bobby brings his family over from India so his sister can pursue her music studies. Raj and Bobby each declare their love for Sweety, who demurs because she dreams of a perfect match like that of her parents. Sweety is nearly kidnapped by gangsters, and Bobby takes a bullet in her defense. Shaan witnesses the destruction of the World Trade Center and writes a million-dollar check to the people of New York. Angela and her all-girl band make their debut at an Indian film-stars extravaganza; and everyone winds up back in Times Square for New Year's Eve 2001, where the various story strands get tied up neatly. Leaving aside the story, which is no more cliched than the average Hollywood romance, the film is marred by bright, flat lighting (which makes the patently fake sets look even less convincing than they otherwise might) and the kind of exaggeratedly perky, eye-rolling performances favored by the hosts of children's television programs. Kaushik is adorable but painfully over-animated. The scenes in which the lanky Rana (who bears a distinct resemblance to Liv Tyler) "plays" the cello and saxophone are simply ludicrous, though her legs look absolutely terrific wrapped around the cello. The flashback to the plane crash that killed Sweety's mother is unintentionally hilarious, from Shaan's miraculous survival to his discovery of his beloved wife's severed hand in a bush. The film's production numbers are energetic but fairly artless, and the music is thoroughly generic pop.
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