Genre-film fans were left gape-mouthed when trailers for Chandni Chowk to China first emerged a few months ago. I think the expression was WTF, or something to that effect.
A breathless blend of Bollywood song and dance, Chinese martial arts and
slapstick comedy, Chandni Chowk to China is not only a melding of Indian and Chinese culture, it's also Bollywood's biggest push yet into Hollywood's back yard. This weekend, not only will the movie open across India, it's opening in a number of cities in North America, where it is distributed by Warner Brothers. It had a premiere last weekend in London and there were sneak previews in the States as well.
The movie is opening this weekend in Bangkok too, thanks to BollywoodThai.com, which routinely brings first-run Hindi-language movies to Bangkok for limited screenings. It's playing at 8 on Friday and Saturday night and at 4 and 7pm on Sunday at at SF World at CentralWorld. On Monday it’s playing at 8pm at SFX Emporium. Tickets are a bit dearer than ordinary, running from 250 to 400 baht. You can call (089) 488 2620 reservations.
Jumbo star Akshay Kumar stars as a humble cook in Delhi's Chandni Chowk neighborhood who is convinced by some Chinese villagers that he is the reincarnation of a great kung-fu warrior. Only he can save the village from a nefarious smuggler, played by martial-arts legend Gordon Liu.
Chandni Chowk to China also has some solid Thai connections - it was actually filmed in Thailand.
The Bangkok Post has more on that. From today's Outlook section (cache):
According to Benetone Films, who coordinated the entire film shoot in Thailand, a huge Chinese village set was created in Ratchaburi, 100km outside Bangkok, where the crew shot for 55 days. Most of the song-and-dance sequences, and a few action scenes, were filmed here as well.
The shooting stint in China (mostly near the Great Wall) lasted 15 days.
More interesting for Thai audiences is that the movie is based on the life of Bollywood action star Akshay Kumar. Before becoming a Bollywood actor, Kumar lived in Bangkok and worked as waiter at a guesthouse in Pahurat, where he also learned Muay Thai.
An article back in December at Thaindian News had more details about the shoot.
A Village Voice review also picks up on the autobiographical theme for Akshay, who really did work as a cook in Chandni Chowk and is sincere in his devotion to East Asian martial arts.
In addition to Akshay and Liu, there's new-face actress Deepika Padukone and martial-arts actor and coordinator Roger Yuan.
Bangkok-based 7-foot-tall Australian stuntman and wrestler Conan Stevens is featured as a right-hand man of Liu's character. Stevens says that CC2C is the biggest and best role he's had yet.
Update: Twitch's Todd Brown (yeah, that's him in the comments below) has his thoughts about Chandni Chowk to China. Twitch also has music videos and promo clips.