When you hear the name Ramesh Sippy synonymous with “Sholay”, the everlasting gem of Hindi cinema associated with a movie, expectations are elevated, to say the least. Combine that with maker of “Kal Ho Na Ho”, Nikhil Advani, a spicy performer such as Akshay Kumar, sprinkled with the Chinese Kung-Fu flavor Gordon Liu, who immortalized San Te from “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin”, the picturesque locales from China backed by none other than Warner Bros and the result anticipated is a steaming hot pot of entertainment bonanza. But CC2C fails to extract the essence of its potentially great ingredients and is served to us cold and bland devoid ironically of all the masala it was intended to be enhanced with.
Considering what a great platform the writers Sridhar Raghavan and Rajat Aroraa had to build a strong screenplay, the chaotic result is simply surprising. The lack of reasoning for any event that happens in the movie is just deplorable. The editing (if any) follows the footsteps of the stale screenplay. Nikhil however does manage to extract a few tapping numbers such as the title track and “Sidhu” from the music directors. The action sequences are enjoyable but leave you wanting more especially when you picture Gordon Liu in a movie.
Sidhu(Akshay Kumar), a small time chandini chowk cook tries any and all ways to get rich quick trying his luck at lottery tickets, astrologers to name a few. His adopted Dada's (Mithun Chakraborty) efforts to make Sidhu believe in himself land in vain and he continues his search for fame and fortune. He entertains himself watching commercials of products endorsed by Sakhi (Deepika Padukone) his favorite model. Sidhu then goes on to embrace a potato as his ganapati bappa after which a couple of strangers from China declare Sidhu as their reincarnated hero. Thanks to Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) the conman translator, Sidhu sets on a journey to the Chinese village to protect the villagers from the evil Hojo (Gordon Liu) without realizing his mission to China. And this is where you wonder why the Chinese men landed in Delhi in search of their hero and what exactly led them to Sidhu and Chopstick..Well, Akshay did tell us in an interview to leave our brains behind while watching this movie, so we move on. Oh, there is a scene where Sidhu gets kicked in the rear by his Dada and he goes flying into the air, and you don’t even chuckle and even if you wish you did, just a little bit for Akshay’s sake, and wonder why? Maybe because we have seen Akshay do this a zillion times and it is so not funny anymore.
Sidhu and Chopstick arrive in China and we find out Sakhi has a long lost twin Suzi who works for Hojo as a smuggler. Sakhi is also in China to visit her birthplace where she believes her father, a police officer and sister were killed by, no points for guessing, Hojo! Hojo tracks Sidhu and kills his Dada thus incurring a new enemy in the form of Sidhu. Then we are told Sakhi’s father who was thrown off the Great Wall of China survived the fall and also managed to save Sidhu when he was thrown off the same spot. How and why Suzi who was shown to be thrown off the same spot is raised by Hojo remains one of the unsolved mysteries in the movie. After being saved by Sakhi’s father who regains his lost memory by looking at a picture from the past, Sidhu undergoes a so called “rigorous” Kung-fu training under him and eventually defeats the evil Hojo and re-unites the twins with their dad. There is bit of James Bond action in here too, in case you were not confused enough. Yes, all spices have been added indeed, except the cook forgot to make it tasteful.
For a film with the title Chandini Chowk to China, you neither see enough of Chandini Chowk or China. How I wish we did, considering this apparently was one of the first international films allowed to shoot on the Great Wall of China. The only goal that comes clear is the effort to make the movie a combination of comedy and action. Unfortunately comedy surfaces at all the wrong places, for example, when we are told that Akshay is learning Kung-Fu to avenge his Dada’s death, the intensity required to master the art and the zeal to fulfill a purpose is clearly lost in a comic overdrive. The art of balancing comedy and action requires a detailed and delicate directorial touch, the kind we see in a Jackie Chan movie. Most of Jackie Chan movies are funny and almost always contain action and yet the lines are clearly drawn between action and comedic sequences thus giving the audience a chance to enjoy both the flavors equally. This is where the screenplay, direction and the editing fall short. Even the graceful Deepika offered in double pack fails to impress although she does looks great in the action scenes. The talented Ranvir Shorey simply fades into the oblivion. The movie had all the right ingredients, action, comedy, a bunch of gifted actors, great locales and plenty of financial back up but the director and writers fail to strike a balance and offer a frenzied blend of nothing. At the end of the movie, Akshay mentions Africa, maybe hinting his next destination. We want you to make us laugh Akshay and see you in action, so go ahead and entertain us in Africa, because clearly your trip to China was an opportunity missed.