I have always maintained that I can sit through anything that has the delectable Shahid Kapoor in it.
I have watched interviews in Hindi, with no subtitles, enjoyed the daftest and fluffiest movies (Dil Bole Hadippa!, Chance Pe Dance), put up with annoying female characters (Jab We Met), all because of Shahid.
This assertion was severely tested by 36, China Town.
The severely misleading blurb outlines a whodunit, dark and, I expected, noir-like. The imdb was more accurate with its categorization of the movie as ‘comedy’, ‘mystery’ and ‘thriller’, as it was a comedic mystery, with very few thrills.
I can forgive the bad blurb. I can forgive the overly-mixed mish-mash soundtrack, which leaned too heavily towards disco for my taste. I can even forgive the strange cinematography which made the movie feel like an 80s Amitabh Bachchan flick.
What I cannot forgive is boredom.
It was a boring beginning – a montage of boats, babes in bikinis, and a big buff guy (who was not Shahid!), that, as it later turned out, had nothing to do with the mystery. There was a running commentary on the dangers of gambling, which I was not certain if they were taking the piss at, or were serious about. If that was a joke, it fell flat.
Chief Police Inspector Karan (Akshaye Khanna) was supposed to be the clever dectective, but if denigrating his bumbling subordinate and juxtaposing him to that officer was an example of his detecting skills, I was already not impressed. A demonstration of his skills would have been far more effective, and was missing.
Thankfully, the Shahid-Kareena chemistry survived the making of the movie and made it somewhat watchable. Kareena Kapoor, as always, gave a splendid performance. At first, I wondered why Shahid had hammed it up – he is a better actor than that, I thought to myself. But everyone in the movie had done the same, which made me realize, right, it’s supposed to be funny.
But it was not.
I never did find out who the murderer was, because, I fell asleep in the end. But, at least the last thing I saw before going to dreamland was Shahid Kapoor dancing, nevermind the terrible song.