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Review: Chandni Chowk to China

Unoriginal, even by Bollywood's standards
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  January 13, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Chandni Chowk to China

Director Nikhil Advani's quirky Chinese-Indian collaboration is the widest release ever of a Bollywood film, and the first ever kung fu Bollywood comedy. Without abandoning the masala genre conventions, the film raises production values to a new standard, with stunts by Crouching Tiger maven Huen Chiu-Ku, more extras than the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and at least five toe-tapping musical numbers.

But even by Bollywood's formulaic story standards, the fairy-tale plot is about as original as Apu's accent on The Simpsons. Akshay Kumar plays a pathetic but pious vegetable chopper who's mistaken for a folk hero by some Chinese villagers. Whisked away to China, he falls in love, learns to rely on himself, and defends the village from an evil Oddjob look-alike with his new kung fu skills.

Yawning sets in by the onset of the second hour, and the Chinese side of the story amounts to one stereotype after another.

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