In a career spanning almost two decades, director duo Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla have handled thrillers expertly, producing hits like Baazigar (1993) and Humraaz (2002). But a murder mystery comedy is one genre they may want to steer clear of in the future if they want to keep their loyal fanbase happy. 36 China Town may sound like a good setting for the mysterious death of a casino boss (Isha Koppikar). But it's a sloppy script that is the real crime here.
Basically a traditional whodunit sprinkled with cheap laughs and an incidental Chinese theme, the film stars Akshay Khanna as Inspector Karan, a young sleuth whose job it is to figure out which one of a handful of unusual suspects killed Sonia Chang (Koppikar) at her mansion, 36 China Town. Was it a wannabe actor (Shahid Kapoor), his pal (Kareena Kapoor), a local Romeo (Brit model-turned-actor Upen Patel), a bankrupt businessman (Paresh Rawal) or husband and wife gamblers (Johnny lever and Tanaaz)? It really doesn’t matter because by the time the ensemble cast have reeled off their naff jokes you won't care about who gets banged up for the crime, let alone the motive.
"WOULD HAVE AGATHA CHRISTIE TURNING IN HER GRAVE"
With a patchy plot and a league of characters that make Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum look positively real, Shyam Goel’s effort at murder mystery writing would have Agatha Christie turning in her grave. And though you don’t have to be Miss Marple to pick out the clues from the red herrings, its a shame the identity of the killer is such an anticlimax. Like a quick Chinese meal, 36 China Town will leave you wanting for something more substantial and filling.
In Hindi with English subtitles.