Less a Bollywood bonbon than a pan-Asian fusion dish, this combination of Indian musical and Chinese chopsocky is, nonetheless, delicious fun.
It's self-consciously slapsticky: One big period number stops briefly midsong. The hero slips on a banana peel and asks who left it there, then segues into an over-the-top martial arts espionage-action movie with a Bond Girl-plus babe playing long-lost twin sisters.
Is there anything there that doesn't sound fun?
While the standard Bollywood musical is a romantic comedy-melodrama with a half-dozen musical numbers, "Chandni Chowk to China" has just a couple and concentrates more on classic kung fu vengeance themes. Major Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, whose work seen stateside includes last year's Tarantino-esque "Tashan," plays Sidhu, a lowly food-stall worker in Chandni Chowk, the SoHo of Delhi. When villagers in a Chinese town run by crime lord Hojo (Gordon Liu) mistakenly believe Sidhu is the reincarnation of a legendary warrior, they import him and his con-man buddy, Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey), to help.
Occasionally cartoony - a kick from his foster dad (Mithun Chakraborty) sends Sidhu flying across town - the movie transitions from "The Nutty
Martial Artist" to "The Karate Kid Grown Up." Indian supermodel Deepika Padukone is the biggest surprise, playing model Sakhi and her sister, Suzy, aka the femme fatale Meow Meow, so ably, you'd think they were two actresses.
PLOT An Indian klutz, believing he's the reincarnation of a Chinese warrior, tries to free a Chinese village from a crime boss.
CAST Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey, Gordon Liu
PLAYING AT Broadway Multiplex Cinemas, Hicksville; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas; Port Washington Cinemas. See showtimes
BOTTOM LINE Slapstick comedy, martial arts, espionage, family drama and a couple of musical numbers somehow work.