Chandni Chowk To China Hindi Movie Review
If the director Nikhil Advani has called this an "illogical, mad film," we know what to expect. However, even if one expects nothing more than a mad illogical film, Chandni Chowk To China is disappointing. A mad film can carry itself along if it is tumultuous enough and funny enough, but this one isn't.
This two hour 34 minute movie is a slapstick comedy, but the jokes are stale. Worse, many scenes seem to stretch on endlessly, the dialogues boring and repetitive, and one wishes the director would get on with it. After the interval Advani does get on with it...but doesn't have much to say. Take away the fight scenes and the movie is nothing. The fight choreography was the work of Dee Dee Ku, an experienced stunt choreographer.
The theme seems decent enough. It's about how one should try and make one's own way in the world, not depend on Fate or God. Sidhu, a fatalistic, cowardly, religious nincompoop is at the centre of it all. He is a small-time cook and helper in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, obsessed with making it big by winning a lottery or simply by the grace of God. He keeps looking for signs that his life is about to change. Getting his palm read, wearing various beads and totems and going to astrologers are what he does in his spare time. His Dada (Mithun Chakraborty), the man who has brought him up, keeps telling him that this isn't the way to success, but his advice falls on deaf ears. And when a Chinese-Indian holy man called Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) urges him to go to China he sets off happily, sure that a great life awaits him.
The audience knows better as the film had begun with the impressive legend of Chinese warrior Liu Sheng who died defending his country against invading tribes. These are modern times and the villains are different, but there are Chinese villagers who want someone like Liu Sheng to come and save them. Surely it cannot be a fool like Sidhu?
This movie does not exclusively center around Akshay Kumar. Two well known Chinese actors play strong characters - Gordon Liu is the villain Hojo and Roger Yuan plays Chiang, a police officer. Both do a good job and Gordon Liu was particularly good. Deepika Padukone is the Chinese Suzie/Meow Meow as well as the Indian Sakhi (double role). She looks great and it was also interesting to see her character Meow Meow perform action scenes, which Deepika did herself. Akshay too does a good job with the Kung Fu scenes but he comes into his own pretty late in the film. Ranvir Shorey's role is that of the comical holy man Chopstick but somehow he does not impress in this film.
As all the characters are exaggerated stereotypes, acting skills are clearly not of prime importance. Characters are also poorly developed. For example, there is a humorous attempt to try and explain Chopstick's psyche, but it comes across as more ridiculous than funny. What a waste of Shorey's talent. The relationship between Sidhu and his adopted father Dada is poorly brought out, with the exchanges between them repetitive and lacklustre. As their relationship was central to the movie, I think some good scripting could have added the extra punch this movie needed.
Most of the action takes place in China but except for plenty of heady shots of the Great Wall, and a few shots of Shanghai, there isn't much China to see. Not surprising, considering that a large part of the China scenes have been shot in Thailand.
While watching CC2C I got this awful sense of deja vu... about a hundred movies of the past seemed to come together. The movie is strongly reminiscent of the seventies Bollywood movies complete with lost at birth babies, tearful reunions and heroes singlehandedly fending off the evil guys. Well, the latter is reminiscent of Kung Fu movies. In fact CC2C is a Kung-Fu Bollywood fusion, the first of its kind. Another first for this movie is that it is backed by Warner Bros. Surprising that Warner got itself into such an unoriginal venture and plans a sequel!
However, making box office predictions is quite impossible. After all, this movie is packed with star power, is shot at exotic locations, has a few catchy tunes and has been heavily promoted and advertised.