Only dimwits won't like Chandni Chowk To China. They will go the theatre expecting to watch a Bourne Ultimatum or a Casino Royale, and be greatly disappointed by the buffoonery of Akshay Kumar and come out of the theatre to write bad reviews or spread bad things about the movie. I hope Chandni Chowk To China does not fall victim to negative word-of-mouth publicity, and I don't think it will.
It is a movie that gives you a statutory warning at the very outset: "Take it seriously only at your peril." So if you fail to have fun and come out of the theatre grumbling, it is entirely your fault. The 'serious' viewers and reviewers might also fail to notice that the movie actually makes fun of the standard formulas that have been adopted by Bollywood in the past -- man reuniting with his children after 20 years, a mad man regaining his lost memory after seeing a photograph from his past, the hero seeking revenge, two lost sisters separated by fate being reunited and so on. So much so that the movie is actually a combination of these cliched formulas, yet it is so refreshing. You know what's going to happen next but you are still watching it eagerly, curious about what's going to happen next. That's the magic of Chandni Chow To China.
Go watch it. You won't regret it. Let me put it this way: if you were planning to watch it, go ahead. Don't let the reviews bother you. Most reviewers know zilch, except for my friend Baradwaj Rangan. This morning I was greatly relieved to see him giving three stars to Chandni Chowk To China. Well, it is not for nothing that he won the National Award last year for being the best film critic.
For me, the piece de resistance was the resurrection of Bombay se aaya mera dost, the 1970's song from Aap Ki Khaatir sung by Bappi Lahiri. I got goosebumps when I saw a drunk Akshay Kumar singing, to adrenalin-pumping beats, "India se aaya tera dost..." I think the remixed version is also sung by Bappi Lahiri, though I didn't see his name among the list of singers when the credits started rolling. Maybe he got a special mention and I might have been out of the theatre by then.
I beg you to listen to this energising song. I promise you that it will be great company especially when you are dancing or working out. It will also instantly lift your spirits when you are brooding about bygone days -- that's when the song will hit you like a blast -- literally! -- from the past. It will assure you that when it comes to Bollywood music, three people will never die -- Kishore Kumar, R.D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri. Their genius will be appreciated -- instinctively -- by generation after generation.
Bappi and genius? Did I hear you saying that? Well, in my opinion, he might be a clown, he might be a copycat. But he also gave some damn good original music which cannot find a parallel. The song Chalte chalte is a monument by itself. It is like the India Gate or the Gateway of India, where thousands flock every morning and evening to relive history.