From Sydney with Love is a feeble combination of three films: Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Dilwale Dhulaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and Salaam Namaste (2005). A film doesn't need to have stars like Shah Rukh, Aamir, Saif, Kajol or Preity to be funny or romantic. It needs a screenplay, which grants enough room to let the actors create moments of cheesy escapism that could exist only on screen.
This filmhas all its formulas in place. Love story: check. Foreign locales: check. Good songs (with one remix): check. Funny dialogues: check. The two boxes that are left unchecked are: the story and the casting. The story stands thus: Lubaina loves Raj. Raj loves Megha. Megha loves Rohit. Rohit loves Megha too. Then there is that one guy who adds nothing to the plot. Thing is, this love quartet doesn't have much of a conflict to begin with. Sadly, this is not the only reason why the film doesn't work.
Raj is introduced as he comes out a large box labeled: "Gift to womanhood". I chuckled. I love it when films don't take themselves seriously. Raj is played by Prateek Chakravorty who has also directed the film (thanks to a bit of nepotism). It seems funny that he is aware that he isn't a typical Bollywood hero material and mocks it. But then he gets a typical song and acts all Bollywood hero-like. That was the first in a series of cringes that ensued. Soon, we see this character being taken too seriously. Now wouldn't it be a good movie about a real person who doesn't have a body of a god but expects his life to have the same fairytale ending that we see in the movies? Sounds like a good enough concept, right? Alas, the movie around it just isn't and has a thoroughly filmy world of its own.
Megha portrayed by Bidita Bag whose diction is atrocious. Why three boys in the film were hopelessly smitten by her and not Lubaina (who has bad diction too but also happens to be hot) is beyond me! Megha is a regressive small town girl who only wants to study and doesn't wish to debauch. Then comes a moment which made my jaw drop as she finds herself getting naughty with, mind you, the guy she loves and, for some godforsaken reason, stops talking to him! Who does that? Later, she reveals another plot point, which is even more bizarre. Rohit (Sharad Malhotra) on the other hand, hopelessly in love with Megha, also takes a decision in the film, which is stupendously odd and doesn't make sense with the characters previous actions. Obviously all these things lead to utter perplexity and unintentional hilarity for the viewer. The epilogue is highly disorienting and simply wrong. It isn't bad, it isn't good - it is just wrong.
One sequence shows India in such bad light that I'm sure it would make even the unfounded detractors of Slumdog Millionaire (2008) shy away in embarrassment.I definitely don't want to see a movie about a filmmaker's college experience and/or how kind a person he is, I want to see a movie about actual characters, who have a story around them. Farhan Akhtar had also based Dil Chahta Hai on his experiences in college. But Im sure he knew we aren't interested in his love life. We are interested in the lives of the characters. This film, while being a mess, isn't boring at all but it isn't entertaining either. It tries too hard to be funny and romantic and ends up being neither.From Sydney with Love is actually From Sydney with Nothing Much.