January 17th, 2009

Chandni Chowk to China - Bakwaas picture hai naa!!!

The trailers looked good. The team behind it boasted of some talented people (Rohan and Ramesh Sippy, Shridhar Raghavan, Nikhil Advani, etc.). The filmed marked Warner Brothers' entry into Hindi films and they created a hell of a buzz for the film in international markets as well. The film had the services of some seriously talented kungfu artists and also had as a villain, the granddaddy of Chinese bad boys, Gordon Liu. Above all the Indian starcast included Ranvir Shorey, Deepika Padukone, Mithunda and above all, the current box office Midas, Akshay Kumar. With all this, one could surely bet that CC2C would at least be a thrill a minute entertainer and at most a milestone in Hindi cinema and a real international success. But then in their haste to create history, this dream team apparently forgot to include one thing - a coherent script. The result is that CC2C is one big cluttered and incoherent bunch of scenes pretending to be a film.

The "film" starts promisingly though. The story is about one unlucky bum (Akshay Kumar as Sidhu acting as lowbrow as Govinda and Shakti Kapoor during their Raja Babu days) who works in his foster father's (Mithunda is really awesome kicking the hell out of Akshay Kumar) dhaba and how he is mistaken by two visiting Chinese villagers for a reincarnation of an ancient Chinese warrior and taken to China to fight the villagers' oppressor, Mr. Hojo (Gordon Liu, extremely good and boy, can he kick some ass even at his age!!). One may ask the following:
1) What the heck are two supposedly not well to do Chinese villagers doing having a holiday in India? Also, how on Earth do they have so much money which finances Sidhu and his "feng shastra" expert friend Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey who has not much do here and pretty much adequate)?
2) Why is Mr. Hojo (the name somehow reminds me of Mojo Jojo of the Powerpuff Girls) oppressing a tiny village when the dude has other revenue streams which include diamond smuggling?
But then logic is not the forte of Indian masala blockbusters. Ghajini had so many loopholes and yet it worked. Hence we can tolerate it.

In all this, there is a subplot involving the leading lady, Ms. TMN (Deepika Padukone does a good job looking hootttt) who is visiting China to meet the Chinese inventors working for her tele shopping company (the meeting scene involves Chinese men and women indulging in a whacky hindi song medley). They gift her some Bondish gadgets including a translating device and a parachutic umbrella (no use finding logic here folks). She also has another agenda - she wants to come here to find her missing father and twin sister (shades of Seeta and Geeta, a Sippy film). You see, her inspector father once caught Mojo Jojo Hojo and put him in bars. Hojo boy wants to take revenge by wiping out inspector's family (shades of Sholay, another Sippy film). Jojo Tojo succeeds in flinging the inspector from the Great Wall and kidnapping one daughter. The daughter turns out to be Tojo Pojo's female assassin Meow Meow (Padukone with Chinese features and lots of ass kicking abilities). Here further questions creep up :
1) How the hell do two twins have different racial features? Ms. TMN has Indian features and Meow *2 has Chinese features.
2) Was this subplot really needed?
But then so far so good. We are being entertained though a feeling of boredom is creeping up. The mood is uplifted when Akshay pays homage to Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the drunken kungfu style by playing out an elaborate action setpiece while drunk and singing Bappi Lahiri's "India se aaya tera dost". Bappida meets kungfu. I seriously wished that Mithun were involved in there somehow.
Then it all goes seriously wrong. Till now the outrageous scenes (eg: Akshay dancing in different styles at one go, Deepika in a howlarious ad for a howlarious product, Mithun kicking Akshay into the stratosphere, etc.) were at least entertaining. Now onwards, they got wierder and painful. The plot twists get so twisted that one wants to twist the neck of the plotter. Worst, Mithun is killed off. Then Akshay is kicked off the Wall (the Great Wall seems to be a very convenient assassination point inspite of being a heritage site and hence, well guarded) and saved by, you won't believe it, the inspector father of the two hot twins!! The dude seems to have lost his memory (shades of so many masala films) and is now a destitute. Then after some more twists, outrageous setpieces (Akshay and Deepika singing a duet while gliding in the air using the Bondish umbrella, Akshay literally unleashing a tornado on the henchmen and the ridiculous cosmic punch) and some great action (Akshay's training scenes are well done though it is interrupted by a Godawful piece of romance between him and Padukone), the film ends with a threat of a sequel. I almost peed in my pants thinking of another film like this.

The film aims to be a sort of homage to Indian and Chinese films, a sort of Kill Bill in a lighter mood. It ends up being a hotchpotch khichdi with no direction and absolutely no sense. Quite a few scenes in isolation are great. The action scenes are awesome with some real beautiful stunts being done. The comedy of Akshay Kumar is great as always. The only problem is that these scenes are joined by some awful scenes. Just when one gets engrossed by a good scene, a bad scene comes up to make him forget the earlier scene and start hating the film again. The film should have been edited mercilessly and at least an hour chopped off. The story of the film is such that one suspects that scripts of two different films were jumbled up together and the crew shot the film without separating the two. It really gets very incoherent at times.

Mithunda acts like he always does and is a treat to watch. Deepika is good to look at and she seems to have worked hard on her action skills. She now needs to work on her acting as she cannot act at all. Gordon Liu is awesome as Hojo and shows our wannabe villains how to be a bad guy without overacting. Akshay tries really hard to make the film work. He does it all -comedy, tragedy and some really good fighting. Carrying mediocre films on his shoulders is a habit for him - Garam Masala, Bhool Bhooliya, Welcome, SIK were all mediocre films which worked due to him. However here the burden is too much. 

CC2C could have been awesome if it had been kept as simple as fried rice. However the film ends up like a triple schezwan with Gulam Jamun on top. In parts tasty but on the whole, vomit inducing!!!


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