Fluff is hardly the word for "Neal 'n' Nikki," a mismatched romantic comedy that makes most Bollywood twosomes look like art movies. Latest production from usually reliable Yash Raj Films aims to push the envelope but delivers little more than candy-floss entertainment.

Fluff is hardly the word for “Neal ‘n’ Nikki,” a mismatched romantic comedy that makes most Bollywood twosomes look like art movies. With its non-resident Indian leads, Canadian setting, “modern” sexual values and yards of English dialogue, latest production from usually reliable Yash Raj Films aims to push the envelope but delivers little more than candy-floss entertainment. Dec. 9 release looks likely to alienate Yash Raj’s traditional family demographic without claiming extra auds.

Brief running time (and plot arc) makes pic look like the first half of a more regular picture. B.C.-born rich kid Neal (Uday Chopra, ingratiating) agrees to an arranged marriage to Sweety (Richa Pallod) from Bhatinda, on condition he can have a three-week bachelor vacation in Vancouver first. There he keeps bumping into motor mouth Nikki (Tanisha Mukerji, offbeat but one-note), who’s sore from being dumped by her model b.f. (Alexander Montez). Even when N&N end up in the sack, Nikki is wary of committing. Musical numbers have a bright energy but dialogue and plotting are weak, with no emotional pay-off. As the spattin’ (and — shock! — kissin’) couple, Chopra and Mukerji flaunt more pecs than real sex.

Neal 'N' Nikki

India

Production

A Yash Raj Films release and production. (International sales: Yash Raj, Mumbai.) Produced by Aditya Chopra. Executive producer, Namit Sharma. Directed by Arjun Sablok. Screenplay, Sablok, Anvita Dutt Guptan.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), P.S. Vinod; editor, Ritesh Soni; background & song music, Salim-Sulaiman ; lyrics, Dutt Guptan, Irshad Kamil, Asif Ali Beg; production designers, Bob Bottieri, Guruji Brothers; costume designer, Sanjeev Mulchandani. Reviewed at UCI Empire 3, London, Dec. 9, 2005. Hindi, English dialogue. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Uday Chopra, Tanisha Mukerji, Richa Pallod, Gaurav Gera, Priya Sachdev, Alexander Montez, Kristy McQuade, Serinda Swan, Samantha McLeod, Sana Abou Khazal, Kamini Khanna, Chander Khanna, Abhishek Bachchan.
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