wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
A crazy plotline of the 80s where Seeta meets Geeta or not. An unbelievable journey of a simpleton from shame to fame - where coincidences rule! An unsuccessful attempt at a comedy, but I guess a successful one at slapstick.Read more
The opening paragraph of the synopsis on the official site reads -
‘Chandni Chowk to China’ the first ever Bollywood Kungfu comedy takes you on a madcap journey from the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, to Shanghai, the Great Wall and rural China, marrying in its wake hilarious gags, breathtaking action, spectacular locations and heart stirring emotions.
The emotional fool that I am, the “heart stirring emotions” is what interests me the most. But am not foolish enough to let my heart do ALL the thinking. It’s evident that the audience should be looking forward to great coverage of a foreign location where few Hindi films have been, mind-blowing action with all martial art films as reference, unique set design inspired by Kung Fu Hustle. For your viewing pleasure –
So, we are all set for the first high-profile movie of the year – action-packed, filled with gags, grand sets thanks to the obviously huge finances made available by Warner Bros and Rohan Sippy. Complete with a snazzy premiere in Los Angeles -
John Landis, Rob Cohen and McG, who has just finished Terminator 4, were some of the topnotch Hollywood directors who turned up for the Los Angeles premiere of Chandni Chowk To China Wednesday night at the posh Steve J. Ross theatre right inside the Warner Brother premises.
I doubt with this in the plan there was too much money available for story. And I wouldn’t be surprised if fancy fight and dance sequences take care of the problem called ‘story-telling’.
And soon enough I find this in Anupama Chopra’s interview with Akshay Kumar -
Before Warner Brothers came in, Rohan Sippy got me a design of me standing like in that pose. The film was called 'Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu'. He said, "Akshay I want to make a film." I said, "Okay, what's the story?" "I don't have a story." "Okay do you have an idea?" I don't have an idea." "Alright, you have a producer?" "I don't have a producer." Sso what do you have?" "I just have this poster, this is the main poster." His idea was this poster he had made in front of me. This is the first film I've done without listening to anything. I told him I wanted to do this film.
Don’t know about you, but somehow this is not something I’d tell the world with pride. Attention to story or the lack of it is confirmed by this review -
there aren’t enough lavishly choreographed dance numbers and weaving, intricate camera shots in the world to overcome a plot more confusing and muddled than The Big Lebowski’s and a protagonist more scatter-brained and annoying than Borat and Benny Hill combined. Chandni Chowk To China tries too hard in all the wrong places
Anyhow, with the rush of being a member of the Pune International Film Festival - organization committee for the last month or so, I’m actually game for a laugh-your-head off entertainer. Still don’t mind using my brain, if they have any use for it.
- meeta, a part of the audience
"Houston, we have a problem" A huge problem.
We are losing Ranvir Shorey to the big, bad world and...fast.
Ranvir is 'Chopstick' who's a Feng Shastra specialist, and sells good luck amulets too. He'll do anything for every penny to get his daily bread. But, he's not entirely heartless. Looks like a nice gray character which Ranvir can do full justice to, right? Uhh...Friendly reminder: we have the heart-throb of the "masses", Akshay Kumar playing a simpleton, the village chowk fool, in this movie too. By definition, the entire cast HAS to speak at least 20 decibel levels above acceptable. And therein lies the problem. Ranvir, who can convey so much just by his eyes, let alone body language, is made to look like the comic filler found in every other slapstick.
I guess slapstick has a role in entertainment. But, then can't there be something fresh, something that makes you roll on the floor laughing, literally. Sure, there are a few lines scattered around that are witty and bring a smile. But then every element of a 'masala' entertainer is like a punctuation for the next element. It' like the scriptwriter/director went -
Oye! 19 minutes since we had an emotional scene. Time for one. Plug it in. OR/AND Oh no! actors have too much glycerin, can't have the audience crying for too long. Where's that crotch joke we played 5 minutes ago? Will be perfect here. AND/OR Oopsie-doopsie-poopsie...haven't had an action sequence in a while. Editor dear, let's put one in, right before this lovey-dovey song. So on and so forth...
There would've been a miniscule amount of grace if any of these elements worked at least by themselves. But, na-ah. A smile here, a smile there. A good laugh with a hard slap on the forehead at the pointless predictability of it all.
True, the action sequences and ensuing computer gimmickry are ght. A couple of 'wows' for Deepika Padukone's karate hu-aa. But that's in absolute terms. Relatively, an evening out with Matrix's Trinity and Kung Fu Panda might give a better dose of action, comedy and cuteness!
There's something about Deepika that doesn't seem right. She looks alright, nothing overly charming or beautiful. But not 'the girl next door' either. She's not completely blank but is still going through the motions. Who am I kidding? There is really no character(s) under whose skin she could let her talent(?) grow and show.
Yeah, yeah, yeah...time to give credit where it's due. Yep! There were a couple of things I liked. Akshay Kumar's character, Sidhu is extremely consistent. There's no point where the event of the moment inspired him to grow brains. The way the character grew gradually didn't seem out of place or sudden.
Like with Nikhil Advani's earlier venture Salaam-e-ishq, I found the tiny spoof-type sub-plots interesting. There are these infomercials which pop up every once in a while. A comment on blind faith is made in passing. I'm curious how such issues make their way into an absolute crazy caper. Anyway too little, too late. This is all completely lost in the pure non-sense that the plot, the script, and the screenplay are. Yep, you are right! What more could I have expected!?
- meeta, a part of the audience
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...But what sticks with you when you leave the cinema after a screening of Chandni Chowk To China is the feeling of fatigue that comes from being trapped in an elevator for hours.... full review
So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Advani and his writer Shridhar Raghavan in an attempt to give us a full-on entertainer sacrificed logic, plausibility, characterisation and even coherence.... full review
Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Nikhil Advani’s Chandni Chowk to China is so crammed with nudge-nudge memories from the masala era that you could entertain yourself simply with a guessing game about the various references.... full review
Thumbs down, by Nita Jatar Kulkarni, Now Running.com : ...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.... full review
Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...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.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.