Nobody goes to an Abbas-Mustan movie expecting great cinema. Two and half hour of the purest unadulterated commercial pot-boiler is what you get. There's something about them that smacks of old school Bollywood. Bollywood may threaten to crossover, get realistic, globalized and even original but they sure want no truck with all that.
The "men in white' have but one damn tune, which in itself is mediocre at best and over the years they've kept playing variations of it. And Thank God for that! Any attempt to overreach has resulted in absolute travesty. (Sample Tarzan- the wonder car or Badshah)
A typical Abbas-Mustan film is nothing but a pointless and meandering first half utilized in dispensing the prerequisite stock-in-trade songs, comic situations lifted straight from SMSes and Champak Children's Magazine, enough cleavage and of course, the mandatory bollywood romance in the Alps. All the good, sunny and funny times suddenly end in macabre fashion at the 'Interval' with a grissly murder. What follows is a series of asinine twists and turns, strictly for the easily credulous and essentially bird-brained until the movie stumbles across the finish line and in true Scooby Doo fashion, the dastardly murderer is exposed and put behind bars. Time for a Scooby Snack, hell yeah!
Their latest Bolly-comic-noir "36 China Town" is no different. Set in the Abbas-Mustanian Malgudi of China Town, supposedly somewhere in Goa. Dragons and other Mandarin motifs appear once in while during an 'item'sequence, as does the occasional Oriental and the murder victim is a casino owner named "Chang". So much for the Chinese Connection! Usual suspects include Kareena and Shaheed, two down-on-luck people, both in need of some easy money and of course, it always helps that poor lil Kareena has just broken up with an insensitive boyfriend. Also suspect are Jhonny lever and Paresh Rawal, both of whom have lost thier fortunes at the casino and thier respective wives, Tanaaz Currim and Payal Rohatgi. And then there is the most annoying creature unleashed on Bolywood screens- 'Playboy Rocky' (Upen Patel). Almost everybody in the assemble seems to confuse acting with apoplexy and hyper-ventilate from start to finish. Paresh and Johnny raise an occasional laugh but it's a pretty juvenile act all the same. And as for Upen Patel who makes his debut, he looks and acts like Negar Khan on hormones.
But if there's anybody who lends the slightest degree of diginity to the proceedings it's the always stellar Akshaye Khanna. Playing the average Inspectorji smashed with Philip Marlowe (with the hat, even), he oozes charm, intensity and humor in a thankless role that subjects him to too many cheesy dialouges and too less screentime. Also chuckle-worthy is the inspector's subordinate whose 'cuckold' and 'cigarette-lighter' schtick may seem a tad over-drawn and extended but still worth a laugh.
Very few things seem to make sense and if anything, the picture is constant in it's incogruity and inanity. And for Abbas-Mustan it's yet another triumph. Once again, they've concocted an immensley watchable bad Bollywood movie.