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June 2006

36 China Town

Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapur, Akshaye Khanna, Upen Patel

Directors: Abbas-Mastan

Music Director: Himesh Reshammiya

This is Shahid-Kareena's first movie as a pair after the dud Fida. The chemistry may not exactly crackle but you do see some sparks and the good thing is that both get to play their age this time.

Raj (Shahid), a struggling actor and Priya (Kareena), a runaway bride, find the missing son of Sonia (Isha Koppikar), the owner of a casino in Goa. They decide to split the reward money. But when they reach the lady's bungalow late at night, they find her dead. And so begin their travails with the police hot on their trail.

36 China Town could have been an extremely engrossing thriller had the makers stuck to the murder mystery track. But too many sub-plots (included to provide wholesome entertainment) only end up murdering the mystery! Which in any case is a big let-down after all that build-up. The best thing actually about this whodunit is the class act by Akshaye Khanna. He excels in underplay as always. As the Inspector called upon to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder of Sonia, Akshaye is terrific --- mischief in the eyes, designer hats et al, he's charm personified.

Model-turned actor Upen Patel (better known as Amrita Arora's ex-boyfriend), as Rocky, the playboy suits his role, though he's more hyped than hot. Johny Lever and Paresh Rawal as inveterate gamblers add fun to the proceedings though the humour is pretty inane. Kareena is fine for her role though one wishes it were meatier while Shahid displays a fine sense of comedy in some scenes. But when will this lad with the cute smile metamorphose into a man?

The ubiquitous Himesh Reshammiya is at his nasal best. But thank God, he's spared us of his hungry dog-like howls of Aashiq Banaya Aapne! Aah Aah Aashiqui is a good dance ditty.

To sum up, if you have nothing much to do, go watch 36 China Town. It'll be good timepass!

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