American actress Marigold Lexton (Ali Larter) arrives in India with no luggage and a bad attitude. Stranded in Goa when financing for her low-budget Hollywood movie falls apart, Marigold finds herself cast in a small role in a Bollywood musical. Eager to prove herself, she enlists the aid of Prem (Salman Khan), the film's choreographer. After several false starts - Marigold is most definitely not a natural dancer - she experiences renewed confidence and a growing love for Prem. In rapid succession, Marigold discovers that Prem is not only descended from royalty but is also approaching to his arranged marriage with a beautiful Indian girl, Janvi (Nandana Sen). Just to complicate matters more, Marigold's boyfriend, Barry (Ian Bohen), arrives in India unexpectedly...
With the victory of Slumdog Millionaire at the recently concluded Oscars, I hope
that the West could move away from romanticizing India in their movies in unreal
terms, or to make films that don't pander to stereotypes at the very least. Similar
to films like Mistress of Spices and The Other End of the Line, Marigold is like a
mishmash of a typical Bollywood film, but without the right masala ingredients put
Ali Larter stars as the titular character Marigold Lexton, a B-grade actress whose
more famous films all end with a number, such as Fatal Attraction 3, Indecent
Proposal 2 and Basic Instinct 3, which suggests the kind of actress she is. She's
off to Goa, India to make Kama Sutra 3, only to find that the production has been
shut due to the lack of finances. Armed with a super-bitchy attitude, she's not a
character that you'll like instantly, because she pushes her weight around, and I
find it a plain rude for the story to have such a character propagating
misconceptions, and being just insulting and insensitive. It may also put
writer-director Willard Carroll on that thin line of being racist too.
Marigold chances upon a troubled Indian production, and standing out like a sore
thumb, she gets casted in a small role which requires her to dance, and her two left
feet meant that production choreographer Prem (Salman Khan) had to teach her the
basics, as well as to inevitably fall for her because it is written in the stars to
do so. Thus begins plenty of opportunity for Ali Larter to prance around the set
complete with backup dancers, and the blowdryer effect to whip her hair around in a
I wonder what got into Salman Khan to have been involved in this project. Being one
of the three Kings / Khans of Bollywood (the other two being Aamir and Shah Rukh), I
thought this role was one of the surprises in his filmography, in that the
characterization was bad, as was the standard portrayal of a typical Prince like
character in a romance, where challenges come from the likes of a difficult father,
and a pre-arranged marriage with Janvi (Nandana Sen) looming. Not to mention too the
plenty of cheesy, cringeworthy lines that he has to spew.
Overall, the production was quite ordinary, and if it was compared with other recent
films starring any of the Khans, this one would probably rank the last. The songs
were quite bad, and the dances quite OK. But of course the break or make here is in
the story, which is only below average as best. Ali Larter cannot dance and act at
the same time as she comes across quite obviously uncomfortable with it and wooden,
though while she might be a fitting hand in glove to stay true to her character, it
does make it very painful to watch. No doubt she's a clothes horse as she dons saris
of all colours and make, a major turn off was her character's development, which
passed off more like a gold-digger rather than a genuine lover enamoured by her
Be warned if you really decide to pick this up, as you might be better off with
other more heartwarming and sincere movies straight out of Bollywood instead.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There are no special features here, which is a pity because standard features in any Bollywood movie will be a section featuring the songs used in the film.
Unfortunately this film is presented in 4x3 full screen, which means very obvious chopping of the sides of the film, resulting in some points where you get half-faces or half-heads. No qualms about the audio, though the subtitles here deserve a mention for the occasional typos, plus having some emotion of its own with CAPS when it feels like it. Pity that there's no subtitle for the songs sung in Hindi too. so whatever they're singing is anyone's guess if you're not fluent in the language.
by Stefan Shih