Devgan Films' RAJU CHACHA, directed by Anil Devgan, is akin to a fairytale, which ships you into an altogether different world.
Siddhant Rai (Rishi Kapoor), a successful and leading architect, lives in his palatial bungalow along with his three kids -- Rohit, Rahul and Rani. Also living in the house are Casper, their pet dog, and butler Baanke Bihari Chaturvedi. Siddhant's maternal uncles ? Govind Namdev and Pramod Moutho -- and his brother-in-law, Prince (Mayur), are also part of the Rai household.
Being motherless from a young age, the three children are big pranksters. Every time Siddhant arranges for a governess for them, the children frighten or harass the poor teacher away.
A bank is being robbed by a small-time crook, Shekhar (Ajay Devgan), and his friend Jadoo (Johny Lever), but on leaving the bank they are caught in a traffic jam. Shekhar spots Anna (Kajol), an orphan, who is now on her way to Siddhant's house to look after the three children. It is love at first sight for Shekhar who, with his con-act, tries to convince her that he knows her and even tells her that he is in love with her.
As Anna moves towards Siddhant's palace, Shekhar and Jadoo are watching her from a distance. Anna meets Siddhant and the children are introduced to her. Later, the children play a crude prank on Anna when they send her a telegram announcing her parent's death. Anna is hurt and decides to leave. The kids realise their mistake and accept Anna as their elder sister.
With the help of Jadoo, Shekhar convinces Anna of his love and Anna too falls in love with him. Siddhant comes to know of Shekhar and Anna's feelings for each other and decides to get them married. On the day of marriage, Shekhar is arrested by the police for being a conman, who accuse him of robbing a jeweller. Anna is heartbroken and she returns to the orphanage.
Meanwhile, Siddhant's relatives hatch a plot to kill him and take over his empire. They are successful in their mission when Siddhant dies in a car crash. The scheming relatives take over the palace and Siddhant's empire and start ill-treating the three kids.
But one fine day, Siddhant's brother Raju, who had left the home at an early age, returns to protect the three kids.
RAJU CHACHA seems inspired by several English films. The scenes involving Anna and the kids remind you of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the initial portions bear a close resemblance with LION KING and there are portions that seem borrowed from HOME ALONE too.
The initial portions of the film captivate you. The ostentatious palace, the introduction of the principal characters, the kids driving out the person who has been hired by their father to look after them, the special effects? in a way RAJU CHACHA is path-breaking in several ways and the effort is laudable.
But after a mesmerising start, the film loses its grip when the two lead players fall in love. The story stagnates for some time, but gathers momentum once Ajay is arrested and Rishi Kapoor is eliminated.
The second half is better than the first. The emergence of Ajay in the palace with a new identity ? Raju ? and the confrontation scenes with Govind Namdev have been canned proficiently. The plot thickens when Sanjay Dutt also stakes claim on the property and riches, calling himself the true heir (Raju).
But the length of the second half dilutes the impact to an extent. Besides, the film lacks a strong musical score to compliment the goings-on. In fact, that is one of the main reasons why the love story does not leave much of an impact.
As a first-timer, director Anil Devgan seems to have concentrated more on form (technique) than substance (script). Technically, the film is outstanding and the special effects are the best Hindi cinema has ever seen. But the screenplay is not as gripping. The portions involving the kids have been handled with care, but those involving adults give the film a mediocre look. In any case, trimming both the halves of the film slightly is necessary.
To state that the producers have spent lavishly on the production values of the film would be an understatement. The film has a large canvas and the money spent is visible in every frame. Cinematography is outstanding. The stunts, towards the climax mainly, are expertly executed.
Both Ajay Devgan and Kajol are seasoned performers and they don't disappoint you one bit. Ajay impresses more in the second half, while Kajol is, like always, more comfortable in dramatic scenes. However, Ajay looks dull in some portions, mainly because he has lost weight. Rishi Kapoor is just about okay. Sanjay Dutt's introduction startles the viewer, but his scenes could've been much more impactful. The kids are confident and camera-friendly.
On the whole, RAJU CHACHA meets the expectations at places, but falls short of it at times too. Yet, the craze for the film has resulted in the film taking a fabulous start all over. The festive period and lack of any major opposition in the coming week will boost the business prospects of the film, keeping its investors more than happy. A movie that will entertain kids and kid-at-heart.