Aa gaye Kung Fu Pandey
This is the sort of desi exotica—starring snake charmers, and the great Indian rope trick—that you would imagine featuring in a film with the Brit James Bond, or the American Indiana Jones, back in the ‘80s/’90s. Except, this is a joint Indo-Chinese production.
It stars the Hong Kong Hollywood import Jackie Chan, which tells you one thing right away. Trying to seriously deconstruct, decipher this film’s plot is a lot like discussing politics over a drink, with close friends whose world-view you can’t get—nothing will change, you’ll only end up destroying an evening.
Let’s stick to fuzzy facts then. There are treasures from the Magadha (region) that found its way into China under the rule of Tung dynasty—many hundred years before Christ was born.
Jackie, 62, who’s as untouched by age as Bollywood’s very own Jackie Shroff, 60, plays “China’s greatest archeologist”, or, as he repeatedly calls himself, “Only one of the greatest.” Given his expertise, Jackie, or Jack, is in a fair position to locate the golden treasures, whether in snow-capped mountains in China, or the forts of Rajasthan, through an indecipherable, ancient map.
His Indian counterpart, with an equally solid understanding of artifacts, is supposedly a desi prof, beautifully modeled along the lines of Penelope Cruz. Yeah, she’s hot. But of course Jackie Ji has other priorities at this point.
These two lovely folks must help a team find the golden ancient Indian treasures, I guess. And so they muck around picnicking in the Chinese mountains, chilling in the Indian desert state, stupendously chasing fancy cars in Dubai, chiefly to recreate, at least in part, that fantastic vase-tumbling sequence from Rush Hour that every Jackie Chan fan has loved forever. And so it falls, and it doesn’t; and so he dies, and he doesn’t. Some of these scenes with what look like famished leopards, for instance, are absolutely world-class.
There’s much Kung Fu. What about the yoga? No, seriously. What about the yoga? You’re thinking now. That’s your bad. You can just about tell where this film is coming from.
Never mind where this picture is going—dubbed into English and various Indian languages, from Mandarin. Maybe the potential 2.5 billion cinema audiences that comprise India and China together—if you totally ignore Hollywood, which anyway draws 70 per cent of its revenues from outside America? Maybe.
The economics of this pic does make sense. At the centre of this geopolitical tectonic shift is actor Sonu Sood—poor man’s young Amitabh Bachchan, on a horse, holding a falcon in his hand, like Big B from Mard, taking on Jackie Chan. Good stuff, yo.
The rest of this movie just reminded me of any other episode from the Pamela Anderson show VIP from the ‘90s. You remember that? I seriously don’t know why I do.