Thursday, January 29, 2009


I went to see Akshay Kumar's latest movie Chadni Chwok Goes To China yesterday at the new cineplex in CapSquare. Truthfully,I have been avoiding watching it because of the bad reviews - most critics giving it two stars out of five.
Nevertherless, I had to go and catch it at the few cinemas screening it - Capsquare, Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid I think.
According to a friend of mine, the movie is not doing too well in the cinemas - and I tend to understand why it is under performing. There's hardly any promotion and the movie is being screened in cinemas not too popular with the public.
Firstly, Chadni Chwok is a rarity - it is not a typical Hindi movie per se. It has a Hindi cast yes, Hindi production crew (well, mostly) and Hindi dialogue (mixed with Mandarin and English). But its content is not Hindi. It is quite Universal. It is a madcap movie. Don't come to the movie expecting to see anything else but sheer madness. CCGTC is not film art in any sense, but it is pure popcorn (or murukku).
When I was at the cinema, it was about three quarters full. I believe I was the only Malay patron that day.
I wanted to see the movie and also catch the audience reaction. And to tell you the truth, the reaction in the cinema was very very positive. They were laughing at the right spots and at the hilarious and refreshing dialogue. I think all had a very good time at the cinema.
Akshay made it big time with his previous movie Singh Is Kingg! shot mostly in Australia and a unabashed rip off of Jackie Chan's Lady Rose.
CCGTC is more original and production values were much better (foreign money put to good use). I enjoyed this movie more than Singh is Kingg!
I believe, if properly promoted and marketed, CCGTC could have been a big hit, crossing over racial lines, entertaining Malays, Indians and Chinese alike.

The storyline is simple enough, about how Siddhu (Akshay), an unlucky young kitchen helper, gets conned by a soothsayer, who made him believe that he is the reincarnation of Liu Sheng, a brave warrior in China who once fought injustice.
The Chinese village in question is being controlled and exploited by Hojo, played by one-time Shaw Brothers headliner Gordon Liu. Hojo, is a slimmer version of Oddjob, the crook with the head cutting bowler hat in James Bond's Goldfinger.
Of course, Siddhu is no match for Hojo. He needs a sifu - that would be Chiang (played by familiar Hongkong face Roger Yuan. Chiang was Hojo's nemesis, who stole one half of his twin daughters. She grows up to be Meow Meow, a sexy martial arts exponent and a diamond smuggler. The other half, Sakhi, was saved by his Hindi wife back to India, and now all grown up to become a TV personality. Both roles are played by the beautiful Deepika Padukone. (For her wonderful acting effort, she has been nominated for the Best Actress Award in the upcoming Asia Film Awards in Hongkong). Chiang himself nearly dies from a fall but only lost his mind until he meets up with a depressed Siddhu.
Complicated? Not really. Just a crazy script for a crazy film which entertains.

I don't really understand why every film critic in cyberspace and mainstream press is giving the movie a bad review. What did they expect? Apu? Sangam? Didn't they jsut praise Slumdog Miliionaire as a masterpiece? Yet it too got the cold shoulder from the moviegoers in India. So who is right?
(For students of screenwriting, catch the movie to see how the writer sticks religiously to the Hero's Journey structure.)
For me, just to get to see Gordon Liu duke it out with Akshay is worth the RM8 I paid to see the show.

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