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Born in America, Marigold was the only child in the Lexton family. Her mom died when she was very young. She took an interest in acting and movies, much to the chagrin of her dad, who refused to do anything with her. She started acting in small budget movies as well sequels to popular releases such as Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct amongst others. She landed a part in Kama Sutra 3 and had an eventful journey to Mumbai, India, and from there by taxi to Goa. It is here she found out that the movie has been canceled, and she has no money to return home as she was provided with a one-way ticket. She lands a singing/dancing role in Manoj Sharma's film, meets with Dance Instructor, Prem Rajput, who tells her that his grandma had predicted that he would meet and then get married to a woman named Marigold. She becomes attracted to him, even accompanies him to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to his family home on the occasion of his sister, Pooja's marriage. It is here she will find out that Prem ...Written by
I saw Marigold at a preview showing a few days ago, and found it to be a thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable film. The film is about a not-so-successful American actress who goes to India to act in a low budget film, only to find herself stranded there when she finds on arrival that the film's financing has vanished, along with the producers and investors. A chance encounter with an Indian film shooting nearby leads her to be hired for a small dancer role in that. Since Indian films incorporate a significant amount of singing and dancing, this is a problem for Marigold, who has two left feet, not to mention a personality so tightly wound-up and thorny that she can hardly hear the music, let alone feel it, as Prem, the choreographer of the film, advices her to do.
But "prem" -- the word, not the person -- means "love", and Prem -- the person, not the word -- seems to embody that emotion in the way he deals with all around him, whether it be his production assistant friends who introduced Marigold to the shoot, the narcissistic and arrogant leads of the film, or the bitchy and uptight Marigold herself. Soon, under his expert tutelage and endearing treatment, Marigold finds her feet -- literally and figuratively.
I must say a word for those not familiar with the use of song and dance in Indian films. Unlike American musicals, the story progresses through these dance numbers, as plot developments unfold, and character transformations occur in parallel with the dancing. It should also be pointed out that Indian dance is about a lot more than mere movement. An essential part of it is the enactment of the dancer's feelings and emotions while telling the story of the dance. This is the main purpose of the dance and the dancer.
That Marigold reaches this stage of accomplishment is demonstrated in a stunning dance number about midway through, when Marigold, while performing the dance she is required to do for the film-within-the-film, also expresses her love for Prem. It is an amazing performance by Ali Larter, especially when one considers that she is not used to dancing in her films, or emoting her character's feelings via dance. It shows her skill as an actress, as well as how much hard work she has put into the role.
Of course no romantic film can work without a credible Prince Charming. Salman Khan, who plays the role of Prem, fits the role to a T. Even when it turns out that he is a Prince not so charming, he does not lose the audience's sympathy. Salman has been ruling Hindi cinema (sometimes called Bollywood) for many years now, and it is worth remembering that his first leading role was also as Prem. He is completely charming, sweet, adorable, sexy, and vulnerable. For those who have never encountered him on screen before, be prepared to be hit with mega doses of sheer magnetism! He and Ali Larter make a lovely pair, and are as well matched in their acting as in their appearance.
Will they manage to work out their problems? It doesn't seem possible as we hear the last song of the film, a lovely blending of fact and fantasy, reality and metaphor. The ending certainly took some of the audience I saw it with by surprise, but they were left satisfied. The songs are used very cleverly. They are in Hindi, unsubtitled, for the film-within-the-film sequences, and in English for other occasions. But their meaning is always clear from the context and choreography.
Marigold is a very satisfying romantic comedy -- yes, there is quite a bit of humor as well in it. The Indian locations and costumes give it a fairy tale quality, befitting a story which can be likened to a modern fairy tale.
If you are or have been curious about Indian cinema, but were hesitant to try it, this is an excellent introduction. It captures the color and vibrancy of Indian films, not only in the costumes and jewelry (which are quite impressive), but also in the lively dances and world sound music.
If you are a fan of Ali Larter, you should watch it for her excellent acting in portraying a selfish, demanding, "high-maintanance" woman who nevertheless has an inner attraction that inspires the love of two men. If you are a girl, you will enjoy admiring Ali's lovely costumes and ogling her hunk of a leading man. If you are a guy, you can not only admire Ali in her sexy costumes, but learn from Salman Khan what it takes to bring out the loving heart even from someone as edgy as Marigold.
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