Film: Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Director: Kunal Kohli
Producers: Aditya Chopra, Kunal Kohli
Banner: Yash Raj Films
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherji, Rishi Kapoor
The clouds part, against a crystal blue sky stands a benevolent God and a chirpy fairy who doesn’t know what tears and pain is all about. God smiles knowingly and sends her to earth to help four kids in need of love.
A successful business man, hardened because life has taken away all that he ever held dear, has to take care of four kids whose life he roughened by being the cause of their parents’ death. They form the opposite ends of the spectrum that the fairy cycles right through to connect.
The director denies it but the premise is too similar to the Robert Stevenson warm Oscar-winning tale Mary Poppins to be ignored. Thankfully there are millions of elements that turn the little story around and stop it just in time to be a sad copy.
While its easy to dismiss the copy-part, it is not so with the ‘sad’ part of the equation. Not because it evokes the tears it wishes to but because it lets go of a thousand opportunities to endear, enthuse and excite an audience of not only exceedingly intelligent children but expectant adults. The colour, fanfare, creative liberties and technical smoothness please the eye but then the soul keeps surfacing asking for more. Which it doesn’t really except in moments.
Kunal Kohli’s labour of love ‘Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic’ employs every cliche in the telling a story that has been done and redone in various forms across the world. There are movies that are predictable and then there are those that are not. TPTM falls in the former bracket, paving the way for the screenplay to charm its way into the audience’s hearts. Frankly, it does only a so-so job of it.
For example, the tricks the kids play on the unsuspecting Saif. Cute but after the first few ones not energetic enough. The exposition of the kids story is a teaser-style narrative than an engaging introduction. Speak to the camera, always an easy option for lazy writers. Rani’s entry into their life is less of a fresh breeze of air than intended. Screenplay at fault again.
Rani gaining the kids confidence. Expected but incomplete as she fails to gain ours. And of course, a whole lot of other feel-good, sincere efforts to charm that remain luke-warm.
It lacks the language of simplicity that is a necessary element in movies like these. And that’s not because it does not have a heart. It does. It has a good dose of creative thought as well. God’s kingdom, his touch-screen monitor of the world with special zoom-ins into people’s life. The interesting descent of Rani into human-dom, her subsequent tricks to entertain the kids and make a way for them into Saif’s heart. The museum sequence, for instance is a fairy-tale unveiling in front of one’s eyes, anything but commonplace!
The movie is definitely not bad. If you have trite dialogues to the Bhagwaan that go, ‘Aaj tak maine jo bhi chaha, tumne sab kuchh mujhse chheen liya’, (stopping just short of a aaj-khush-toh-bahut-huye-hoge-tum), you also have a peppy, cheerful and roly-poly God (played superbly by Rishi Kapoor) who laughs out loud when termed egoistic by his impish favourite fairy.
If you have four kids whose idea of taking revenge is not leaving any bathrooms free for their victim (quite fun to watch!) then you also have a Prada-wearing bimbette who conveniently walks in and out of the movie. (What WAS Ameesha doing in the movie anyway?)
And then you have Rani, who as always breezes through her role and every stock line with the same verve and zing that makes her so eminently watchable.
A controlled Saif is another wasted opportunity, besides the kids, that could have raised the entertainment bar much much higher.
Very hummable music and fresh lyrics bring a rosier tint to the movie but the editing takes away the pep, especially the repetitive Delhi city shots besides other cuts that are neither for effect, entertainment or anything else in between.
It’s heartening to see the hard work and thought that has gone behind the colourful and fantastical VFX in Thoda Pyaar, Thoda Magic. If only half that work had gone into making a more energetic screenplay, the movie would have turned out to be far more heart-warming than it does.