You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


It should come as no surprise that a Western attempt to tap into the Bollywood craze would require a white leading lady, but "Marigold" delivers an uneven yet charming approximation of the form without too many other compromises.

With: Ali Larter, Salman Khan, Suchitra Pillai, Vikas Bhalla, Simone Singh, Vijayendra Sinhrao Ghatge, Nandana Sen, Ian Bohen.

It should come as no surprise that a Western attempt to tap into the Bollywood craze would require a white leading lady, but “Marigold” delivers an uneven yet charming approximation of the form without too many other compromises. Upbeat musical melodrama preserves all the song-and-dance flair one might expect from a star-crossed Hindi-language romance, with a radiant Ali Larter serving as a point of identification for U.S. auds. Prospects look limited to a low-profile specialty run, though the story’s American slant could broaden pic’s appeal beyond that of even the best-reviewed Bollywood imports.

To its credit, the movie takes place almost entirely in India. After introducing C-list Hollywood actress and first-class diva Marigold Lexton (Larter), who bosses people around aboard a Bombay-bound flight in an unflattering display of American entitlement, pic settles down in Goa, where the film gig Marigold expected to find falls through. Her manager is glad to be rid of her, so the actress, effectively stranded in a foreign country she despises, decides to stick around.

It goes without saying that the abrasive American star will reverse her conceptions of India and fall in love with a local, and a fair amount of the story unfolds according to formula: Marigold stumbles on a movie shoot, where she falls for handsome choreographer Prem (Bollywood star Salman Khan).

Pic plays Marigold’s assertive personality for comedy, challenging each of her suitors in this male-dominated world to “tame” her. Her questionable acting background (her credits include “Fatal Attraction 3” and “Basic Instinct 3”) serves as an amusing contrast to the local filmmaking style: At first, Marigold can’t dance worth a damn, though she pesters the director for notes about her character’s “motivation,” resulting in a culture clash between the two approaches.

Writer-director Willard Carroll (“Playing by Heart”) goes out of his way to uphold the traditions of Indian cinema, though he cheats somewhat by presenting all but two of the dance numbers as scenes from the Bollywood movie-within-the-movie. They are spectacular, to be sure, with entire platoons of dancers jumping and kicking in unison, but auds are reminded of the artifice every time a crane or camera swoops in front of the action.

The movie features seven original songs, presumably one for each of the seven stages of love (the majority are sung in un-subtitled Hindi). The most successful are those in which the characters spontaneously break out in song, in the exuberant style for which Bollywood is known.

Caught in the kaleidoscope of cultural discovery, Marigold and Prem make a winning couple. Larter trades on the same split personality that defines her character on TV’s “Heroes,” beginning the movie as a disagreeable egotist, then slowly becoming more submissive. Khan’s Prem follows a different track, charming at first, but ultimately forced to reveal his secret: He’s an Indian prince, already betrothed to another woman.

Marigold isn’t entirely unattached, either. Her own boyfriend (Ian Bohen, a wooden addition to an otherwise professional cast) travels all the way to India to win her back. “Life isn’t a Bollywood movie,” she insists. “You can’t just dance and giggle your way into the sunset.” But why not? The gaudy fantasy of “Marigold” is much more satisfying than the sudden seriousness that bogs down the final act.

Rich, intricate costumes and vibrant sets amplify the energetic vibe. Graeme Revell’s electronic score interweaves nicely with catchy synthesizer-based songs from Indian composing trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy, the resulting East-West fusion a fitting complement to pic’s central romance.



Production: An Adlabs Films release (in U.S./U.K./India) of a Becker Films Intl. (Australia)/Entertainment One India (India) presentation of a Hyperion Pictures (U.S.) production, in association with Firewall Entertainment (Canada). Produced by Charles Salmon, Tom Wilhite. Executive producers, Praveen Nischol, Reiko Bradley, Susan B. Landau. Co-producers, Sidhartha M. Jain, Christian Mills. Co-executive producers, Michael Hamilton-Wright, Glen Tedham. Directed, written by Willard Carroll.

Crew: Camera (color), Anil Mehta; editor, Anouradhaa Singh; music, Graeme Revell; original songs, Shankar Ehsaan Loy; lyrics, Javed Akhtar, Truth Hurts; production designer, Jon Bunker, Nitin Desai; art director, Nathan Lay; costume designer, Rocky S; sound, Andrew Belletty; re-recording mixers, Greg Stewart, Ken Biehl; choreographers, Vaibhavi Merchant, Remo; associate producers, Michele Lisette Jennings, Andrew Herwitz; assistant director, Terry Bamber; casting, Dianne Crittenden, Rajesh Latkar. Reviewed at Clarity screening room, Beverly Hills, July 24, 2007. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Ali Larter, Salman Khan, Suchitra Pillai, Vikas Bhalla, Simone Singh, Vijayendra Sinhrao Ghatge, Nandana Sen, Ian Bohen.

More Film

  • Medienboard Fetes Its Five Films in

    Medienboard Fetes Its Five Films in Cannes Film Festival

    Pictured: “Little Joe” director Jessica Hausner, Martin Gschlacht, one of the film’s producers, Kirsten Niehuus, with director-producer Cordula Kablitz-Post. Berlin funding agency Medienboard’s managing director Kirsten Niehuus hosted a cocktail reception on Saturday at Grand Hotel in Cannes to celebrate the five films it funded that feature in the festival program. The five films are [...]

  • Radegund

    Cannes Film Review: 'A Hidden Life'

    There are no battlefields in Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” — only those of wheat — no concentration-camp horrors, no dramatic midnight raids. But make no mistake: This is a war movie; it’s just that the fight shown raging here is an internal one, between a Christian and his conscience. A refulgent return to form [...]

  • John Wick: Chapter 3

    Box Office: 'John Wick 3' Knocks Down 'Avengers: Endgame' With $57 Million Debut

    Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put up a good fight, but John Wick put at end to the three-week box office reign of “Avengers: Endgame.” Propelled by positive reviews, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” beat expectations with a debut of $57 million from 3,850 North American locations. That was enough to nab the box office crown [...]

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content