Chandni Chowk To China Hindi Movie Review
Dear Mr. Ghajini, if you are reading this, please consider my earnest plea. If you do have some special iron rod that can erase the last few hours (I don't remember the length of the film, but it felt like eternity) of my memory, please come and bonk me hard on the head with it and I promise I would be forever in your debt.
Don't be mistaken folks, for I am no masochist. I have just had the misfortune of seeing Nikhil Advani's punishing disaster of a film, and I have to say I haven't felt such an unbearable urge to run out of the theatre in a long, long time.
The concept of Chandni Chowk To China apparently sprung from its teaser poster- Rohan Sippy showed Akshay Kumar; the poster featuring him in a Chinese robe, carrying a sword-kebab, and decided to develop a script from the concept. He should really have stopped right there.
For if there is one thing that Chandni Chowk To China does successfully, it is reinforcing the fact that ultimately, the script is king. An Anees Bazmee may be able to pull off the sheer badness and crudeness of a film like Singh Is Kinng and turn it into a success, but Nikhil Advani is clearly a much more polished craftsman, and it is no surprise that he doesn't quite know what to make of this material, or the sheer lack of it. Having said that, the writing here (surprisingly by Shridhar Raghavan along with Rajat Arora) is such an incoherent mess, that it almost makes Singh Is Kinng seem worth studying in film school.
Terribly paced, Chandni Chowk To China moves so arbitrarily and randomly that none of the characters are established well enough for them to form any emotional connect with the audience. Even that could perhaps have been forgiven, if the film didn't take itself so seriously. Not content with being a zany, spoofy comedy (in which case it might have even worked) it expects us to be involved with unbelievably lame attempts at drama and ultimately amounts to pure emotional atyachar. The masala mix that CC2C may have sounded on paper, translates as bland and boring on screen.
Even the much-hyped action fails to excite despite a few well-staged sequences, and the overtly flashy editing often dilutes the impact of action, as it often does here. Himman Dhamija's cinematography is vibrant and fetching, and the fact that the film's technical team has clearly put effort in it is heartbreaking, for how painful it is to see good work gone waste.
Even the acting isn't exactly awful- Akshay Kumar is admirably enthusiastic considering the fact that another actor might have become tired of doing roughly the same role for what seems like the millionth time now, and Deepika Padukone while lacking personality, admittedly does a great job in the kick-a** department. But the actor who really seems to be having a blast here is legendary Chinese star Gordon Liu, who plays the archetypal cardboard bad guy with a relish that's difficult to resist.
Nikhil Advani is much smarter than this film, and his attempts to cater the lowest common denominator in this film fail miserably, only making it more tedious than it already is- here's hoping that he finds a script soon that he can do justice to, as well as one that justifies his presence.
The film ends with the scary prospect of a sequel (set in Africa, no less), and on that dreary note, I invoke thy name once again, Mr. Ghajini- and fervently beseech you to also pay the producers of this expensive mistake a visit in due course. Surely you can spare us more of this Chinese torture.