Wednesday, July 05, 2006

36 chinatown

Title: 36 China Town
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Tanaaz Currim, Tanushree Dutta, Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Isha Koppikar, Johnny Lever, Upen Patel, Paresh Rawal, Payal Rohatgi, Rajendranath Zutshi
Director: Abbas Alibhai Burmawalla/Mastan Alibhai Burmawalla

Sonia Chang is delighted when she recieves a phone call to tell her that her child has been found and someone is bringing him back to her. Unfortunately that night she is murdered. Sonia Chang is the owner of Goa's China Town casinos and is worth millions. Having delivered the murder the film flashes back to the start of the day, following a variety of people as they arrive in Goa and go about their business. Business which steadily puts them in the position as suspect.

In Mumbai a young woman spots little boy, shortly after she sees his picture in the paper - he is Sonia Chang's son and there is a reward for his return. By the time she finds him again an aspiring actor has found the boy. They agree to travel to Goa together and split the reward. This sets up the first two suspects, as well as the romantic thread of the film - as he falls for her, and she spikily rejects all advances. When they go to the airport they meet a couple who are going to Goa to celebrate their wedding anniversary by gambling. And another couple returning home after being cured of a gambling addiction, which got so bad that he lost 4 out of his 5 hotels to Sonia Chang's casinos. Unfortunately the hotel owner recognises the young boy, so the young couple run and grab a bus so that they don't have to split the reward. But in the process we have been introduced to our next suspects.

The film proceeds along those lines. The body is discovered, and a ruggedly handsome police officer gets involved in the case. Collecting the suspects and piecing together the evidence so that he can solve the murder. To that extent this is a crime drama, but it is also Bollywood. So frequently the entire cast will burst into song the way they do in Bollywood films, turing everything into elaborate set pieces and over the top pop videos. Along the way there are elements of humour, slapstick and farce contrasting the potentially darker elements of the murder.

While not an expert on Bollywood by any means, in my ignorance I found 36 China Town to be fun - upbeat, bright, and fully of catchy numbers.

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