By Taran Adarsh, By Bollywood Hungama News Network
A film like THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC makes you nostalgic. It takes you back to the light-hearted, feel-good cinema made by directors of calibre like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee. The focus was on narrating a simple story. A movie that put a smile on your face even if you walked in with a frown.
THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC does exactly that!
Strangely, for some reason, the film lacks the hype associated with a biggie. Perhaps, the string of flops the premiere production house [YRF] churned out, indirectly, took a toll on this movie. But THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC should reverse the trend.
A bit of MARY POPPINS. A dash of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. A sprinkle of ENCHANTED. THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC may not be the most original script, but the sweet and tender moments in this enterprise elevate it to a watchable status.
That Kunal Kohli is a fine storyteller has already been proved [HUM TUM and FANAA were accomplished works]. Now watch him handle a simple, uncomplicated story with dexterity and you'd agree, Kunal has only matured with time.
To put a long story short, THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC is a simple story, well told. It's one of those films you'd enjoy watching with your family, without feeling embarrassed or red-faced. It's sure to put a smile on your face when you exit the auditorium, which, frankly, is a rarity these days!
Ranbeer [Saif Ali Khan], a leading industrialist, is a loner, not by choice, but because he lost everyone he ever loved. He is now faced with a peculiar and uncomfortable situation. In a rare and landmark court verdict, he is to look after four orphan children. The orphans hate him and want revenge from him. The children do not want to live with a man they hate; he too cannot face them or look them in the eye for certain reasons. Their life together is very unhappy.
One day, the kids pray to God for help and He does help them. He sends his most mischievous, childlike, lovable angel to the rescue, with a mission to bring Ranbeer and the kids together. Geeta [Rani Mukerji] comes bicycling down a rainbow… and bursts into Ranbeer's house as the self-proclaimed new nanny.
And then starts the roller coaster ride of fun, emotions, magic and love. An angel who doesn't know what love is. A man who always lost love. Four orphans who need love.
Kunal Kohli opens the cards at the very outset. The car accident and the subsequent court judgment set the story in motion. But the first half isn't without its share of flaws. The pranks played by the kids to harass Saif fall flat. They're anything but funny most of the times. Ameesha's character is another sore point. Actually, the film could've done without this irritating character.
However, Rani's entry in the story adds magic to the goings-on. Her interaction with the kids and how she eventually wins them over is enjoyable. The kids, of course, are the actual heroes of this enterprise, but more on that later.
It's the second hour that takes the film to a different level. How Saif bonds with each of them and the turning point, an incident that makes the kids see Saif differently, is simply excellent. Ditto for the finale, which may seem Bollywoodish, but you don't mind it.
Kunal Kohli has worked with the best of stars [Aamir, Saif, Hrithik, Kajol, Kareena, Rani], but the real test is to extract performances from four unknown kids and that's where he deserves brownie points. It's easy to handle grown-ups, but kids can be really tough. Also, Kunal doesn't [thankfully] make the proceedings melodramatic with rona-dhona thrown in to make it a perfect 'family film'. The emotions are subtle, but nonetheless move you.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is a letdown, barring just one track, 'Pyaar Ke Liye'. Sudeep Chatterjee's cinematography is perfect. The effects are eye catching at times.
Saif fits into the sauve millionaire part [Richie Rich - the poor little rich guy?] very well. And the best part is, he never 'acts'. He's a complete natural! It's a pleasure to watch Rani in a role that does justice to her talent. She's lovable. But why is she sporting the same outfit throughout? Ameesha doesn't work, mainly because her role looks like an add-on. And what is she wearing throughout the movie? But she sizzles in the 'Lazy Lamhe' track.
The four kids are adorable. Each of them is terrific, but the one who's bound to walk away with taalis is the cute Sikh kid called Iqbal. Watch him break into the 'Main Nikla Gadi Leke' song from GADAR; it's bound to bring the house down. Rishi Kapoor is likable in a cameo. Taraana is okay.
On the whole, THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC is a simple story told very effectively and efficiently. At the box-office, it may be a slow starter, but should gradually gather momentum with a strong word of mouth. Business at multiplexes will be the best.
Go watch it, it's a treat for your entire family!
Bollywood.com Rating: 3.5