After the super successful Singh Is King, Akshay Kumar is back with Chandni Chowk to China produced by Warner Bros, one of the largest production houses in Hollywood. The film directed by Nikhil Advani (Kal Ho Na Ho, Salaam-e-Ishq) also stars Deepika Padukone and Ranvir Shorey along with Mithun Chakraborty in a cameo. Chinese Martial Arts actors Gordon Liu (Kill Bill) and Roger Yuan are also a part of the movie.
The pre release hype has been huge, with talks of Akshay Kumar turning into a global sensation and extending his fan-following further. Trade pundits believe, with decent word of mouth, Chandni Chowk To China can in fact beat the Rs 200 crores (worldwide gross) record set by Aamir Khanâ€™s Ghajini in less than 3 weeks. Does Nikhil Advani â€“ Akshay Kumar deliver? Or do they need to? Welcome, Singh Is Kinng and many other Akshay Kumar comedies, being mediocre at best, have worked big time at the box-office.
Sidhu (Akshay Kumar) is an uneducated naÃ¯ve yet a superstitious man hailing in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Despite the kicks and advises from his Dada (Mithun Chakroborty), down on his luck this vegetable cutter from the paranthe wali galli visits all possible saintâ€™s, tarot readerâ€™s and babaâ€™s in search of any form of luck. Just when he had given up all hopes of getting something out of the luck charms to make his life, two men from China come in search of him claiming him to be the reincarnation of a war hero from the past and with an offer to take him to China. Sidhu blissfully sets forth to China with Guru Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) who instigates dreams of a delicious future and forgets to reveal the menace which awaits him. He dreams of a wonderful life with his dream girl, who he calls Ms. TSM (Deepika Padukone), on his way to china. Will this clumpsy weak man live to the hopes of the villagers in fighting against evil and buy them their freedom?
Akshay Kumar himself claimed recently that the movie lacks sense. Chandni Chowk To China not just lacks sense but rather has no story. Unfortunately, the movie is poorly directed and mostly filled with over the top performances. The first half is a complete drag; the pace is extremely slow and the film is completely dependent on Akshay Kumar and his by now trademark antics to carry it along. But watching his previous 10 odd back to back films with the very same mannerisms, itâ€™s getting awfully hard to sit through.
The second half is better, the action is great but the climax is as flat as a cola without fizz. After all the build up, which consumes the entire second half, a thrilling climax is the least you can hope for. You expect it to be a serious combat between the good and the evil, but the director has instead opted to make it funny. Funny it is, but convincing; it isnâ€™t.
The action is top class, going by the standards of Hindi films. Choreography is brilliant and the way Tere Naina is picturized is nice. The music is good, the Chandni Chowk To China Title song and the S.I.D.H.U track stands out.
Akshay Kumar is getting extremely repetitive with his characters. Itâ€™s the same as what you saw in many of his previous films. Heâ€™s hilarious at times but while you watch him perform, you get the seen-those-a-million-times-before kind of feeling. Why canâ€™t a capable actor, commanding super popularity, with many talented directors eager to sign him on; attempt something different?
Deepika Padukone looks stunning and has put in a lot of effort into those action sequences. In a negative role, as a Chinese, Deepika is brilliant. Mithun Chakraborty is fine in a short role. The talented Ranvir Shorey disappoints. The Chinese actors are good!
Overall, for a movie that has been hyped as one of the biggest release of the year, it has about 2 â€“ 3 funny scenes and a couple of good action sequences! Thatâ€™s about it. If thatâ€™s good enough to spend your hard earned money on the film, go for it.
Finally, with a hope that Akshay starts experimenting with his roles and tries something different for a change, I go with 2 stars for Chandni Chowk to China. Disappointing!
Other Notes â€“ The funniest thing about the film was the potato with the shape of the Hindu god Ganesha. Akshay somehow manages to hold on to it throughout the film. Bodies are broken, blood is shed, Akshay is thrown from the top of the Wall of China.. but through it all.. the potato manages to survive!