Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao's Made in China
Made in China Movie Review: Made in China begins with the mysterious death of a Chinese General, while he was visiting India. Before he died, he was seen consuming Magic Soup, an aphrodisiac that is being sold underground. The ongoing investigations make us lead to Raghu (Rajkummar Rao), a wannabe entrepreneur in Ahmedabad, who is the man behind making Gujarat get addicted to his Magic Soup. We see his journey start from being a failed businessman, who can barely make profits with his new ventures. Mouni Roy Confirms She Is Single, ‘Made In China’ Actress Says Suraj Nambiar Is Her Friend.
His life takes a turn with a visit to China where he gets introduced to Tiger Soup – a medicine supposedly made from the penis of a tiger – by a shady Chinese dealer – that can solve bedroom performance issues. Seeing a golden opportunity here, Raghu convinces a popular sexologist Dr Vardhi (Boman Irani) to be a part of his business and endorse his product, Magic Soup. As Raghu and Vardhi do their best to bring the magic back in the bedrooms of their consumers, the success of their venture comes with its set of problems like jealous rivals and domestic troubles. Not to mention, getting dragged into a poisoning case.
Made in China is the first Bollywood film of director Mikhil Musale, who last made the Gujarati film Wrong Side Raju which won a National Award. His new film is a comedy, and is backed by the makers of last year’s big hit Stree, also having the same male lead. The music has been a hit, and the promotions have been decent as well. Made in China also tries to discuss sex, still a taboo subject to talk about in the open. The ingredients are all fine and the recipe looks good. Unfortunately, to requote a dialogue from the movie, Made in China doesn’t exactly take you to the top floor, but just plays around with your expectations and then leaves you high and dry.
Made in China starts off on an intriguing note with a death of the Chinese diplomat, and it leaves you curious about how things lead to Raghu from there. But by the time the movie is over, you are left with the feeling that the subplot is merely a tool for the film to go needlessly sermonising in the climax where Raghu and Vardhi answer for their misdemeanours in front of a panel. It felt like a retread of the climax of Sonakshi Sinha’s Khandaani Shafakhaana, that came out this year and also dealt with similar themes.
Khandaani Shafakhaana was no great shakes either, but the climax was one of the better portions of the film; it felt organic. Here, it feels convoluted. Which is an issue with the rest of the movie too. First of all, despite its shorter runtime, Made in China drags certain portions and takes its sweet time to get to the main plotline. The first half spends quite some time in Raghu’s China sojourn, that, to be honest, doesn’t really add much to the film’s value. This includes the scenes of Raghu hanging out with his new friend Julie, and later meeting her boss. It does give Made in China its turning point, but can’t the track be trimmed to make it crisper? Sanedo Song from Made In China: Mouni Roy and Rajkummar Rao Spice Up This Navaratri Special Number With a Crackling Chemistry (Watch Video).
The second half has more interest value, with Raghu, Vardhi and their associates trying various tricks to make their business a success. But again, near the climax, Made in China takes the convoluted route by putting in family drama, involving Raghu’s wife (Mouni Roy) and his jealous, rich cousin Devaraj (Sumeet Vyas). These tracks are half-baked and just slow down the film from getting to the conclusion.
Sure, Made in China has a few pleasure points. The acting is good. Raghu is a protagonist worth rooting for. It isn’t a typical hero role, just a common man trying to make it big through his own efforts. That’s what makes Raghu such a relatable character and his failings and successes, something we can relate to.
Any scene featuring Paresh Rawal’s China-based investor character, who takes a liking for Raghu, is a win. Some of the comic beats are effective, like Vardhi giving a lecture on sex problems accidentally at a parent-teacher conference. Or the sight of a malfunctioning signboard of a hotel that makes it sound like a male sexual organ. The movie is also pleasant to look at, courtesy Anuj Rakesh Dhawan (cinematography). Even Mikhil Musale’s handling of the film is not bad. The Gujarati influences in the film are deftly handled by the director, without going overboard.
Watch The Trailer of Made in China:
It is the writing and the editing, the usual culprits in any movie these days, that makes Made in China stumble. The intention may have been right here – to convince the audience that it is okay to talk about sex for a healthy sexual life. But in trying to wrap the message around a convincing plot is where Made In China couldn’t really spice things up. Considering four people were involved in the story, we wonder where things went awry. Karan Vyas’ dialogues is a hit-n-miss affair, some lines work, others pass muster. The music, most comprised of recreated songs, is catchy.
The actors all do their work well. Rajkummar Rao is extremely convincing as the good-hearted Gujarati entrepreneur, whose ultimate aim is to make his wife happy. From picking up the right mannerisms to not exactly playing to the gallery, Rao keeps it simple and yet charming in a manner only he can pull off.
An extremely pretty Mouni Roy is effective as Raghu’s wife, who loves her smokes, but isn’t as forward-thinking as she wants others to see her. I wish her character was better-written and given more prominence, which would have added more depth to her outburst at her husband’s new business near the climax. Instead of making her look like a hypocrite.
Boman Irani may be back to be playing a Parsi again, but the actor delivers the goods whenever the scene demands him to. Paresh Rawal impresses in his brief appearance. Gajraj Rao, who plays a motivational speaker that Raghu admires, surprises you with a turn of performance in the third act that is a far cry from what he plays in Badhaai Ho. Sumeet Vyas is suitably smarmy as Raghu’s envious and haughty cousin.
– Most of the Performances
– Some Comic Bits
– Potentially Interesting Storyline
– A Meandering First Half
– Half-Baked Dramatic Plot Devices
– A Disappointing Third Act
There is always a notion about products with the tag ‘Made in China’ that it won’t sustain for long. Unfortunately, that’s the case with the film too. Made in China has an interesting plotline and good performances, but finds it difficult to sustain your interest with its meandering narrative.