MADE IN CHINA | 25 October, 2019

Jio Studios and Maddock Films’ Made In China (UA) is the story of a man who, after many failures, starts a business that takes off like a rocket.

Raghu Mehta (Rajkumar Rao) is an unsuccessful man who has attempted various businesses but failed in every attempt. He accompanies cousin Devraj (Sumeet Vyas) to China to look for a business opportunity but Devraj is unable to crack it. Raghu, however, gets talking to one Abhay Chopra (Paresh Rawal) who the two cousins meet there. Chopra gives him sound business tips. Raghu also meets a Chinese there and acquires a concoction formula to be used as an aphrodisiac. The Chinese man and Abhay Chopra have convinced Raghu that he can make a fortune out of selling the concoction in India as a soup mix to be consumed by sexually weak men so as to increase their sex drive.

Raghu convinces sexologist Dr. Vardhi (Boman Irani) to join him as a partner so that he could prescribe the soup to the thousands of sex patients consulting him. It is touted that the concoction has a tiger’s body part as an ingredient, which helps in stimulating sexually weak men. To escape the authorities, the two partners market the mix illegally. Their product grows in popularity. But law catches up with Raghu, Dr. Vardhi and their associates when a Chinese general visiting India, is found dead in his hotel room after allegedly having consumed the soup mix being sold by Raghu and Dr. Vardhi. Police investigations begin, and both of them are summoned. An expert committee is also constituted to interrogate the two when the investigators (Chittaranjan Tripathy and Abhishek Banerjee) fail to get anything substantive out of Raghu and Dr. Vardhi. What happens after that?

The film is based on Parinda Joshi’s novel of the same name. The story and screenplay are written by Mikhil Musale, Karan Vyas and Parinda Joshi while additional screenplay is by Niren Bhatt. The story is designed as a comedy but most of the jokes fall flat on their face. Since it is an issue-based film about the sexual health of men, the writers have taken the liberty of making their characters talk sex but the same is done in such a crass manner that instead of titillating the audiences, it often ends up irritating them or even embarrassing them. The wisecracks appear so downmarket that except for the front-benchers, others may probably cringe or feel repulsed in such scenes. The viewers fail to understand the logic of constituting an expert committee to interrogate the two partners or even the logic behind the two investigators grilling them when the forensic report is due to be out in 24 hours. Once the forensic report is released, the first question that crops up in the minds of the viewers is: what was the whole idea of the investigation and the expert committee? And the writers have no answer to this question — obviously, because the only answer that can be offered would negate the very existence of the film.

Again, at the interrogation of Dr. Vardhi by members of the expert committee, the discussion, quite weirdly, veers from asking the two partners about whether the ingredients of the mix include a tiger’s body part to how dare Dr. Vardhi discuss sex so openly with members of the public. Really? What does a sexologist do? If he doesn’t talk about sex, does he sing bhajans in front of his patients? And how on earth can the committee ask Dr. Vardhi about his profession when he has been practising — that too, openly in a proper clinic — since years?

Although the writers have attempted to explain why Raghu and Dr. Vardhi sell their soup mix illegally, the same doesn’t register well enough on the minds of the audience as a result of which many of the viewers don’t even understand the logic. The drama talks about the death of the Chinese general but this track is, very conveniently, forgotten by the end of it all!

Although the drama is meant to serve two purposes — tickle the funny bone, and make the viewers realise that sex and sexual problems are all in the head — none of them is served well enough. The comedy, especially, is so tame that it hardly evokes laughter. The track of Raghu’s son and his school principal as also of the motivational speaker (Gajraj Rao) look like forced add-ons. Niren Bhatt and Karan Vyas’ dialogues are good at places only.

Rajkumar Rao is not in his element. He acts well but does not impress enough to rise above the insipid script. Mouni Roy is okay as Raghu’s wife, Ragini. She looks sexy and exposes her body uninhibitedly in the song-dances. Boman Irani is very good as Dr. Vardhi and makes his character believable. Sumeet Vyas (as Devraj) is wasted. As Devraj’s father, Manoj Joshi leaves a wonderful mark. Sanjay Goradia acts with effortless ease as the man with an extraordinary flair for numbers. Amyra Dastur looks pretty but has very little to do. Chittaranjan Tripathy is natural to the crore. Abhishek Banerjee lends decent support. Paresh Rawal evokes laughter with his ‘Customer’ dialogue and other dialogues too. Gajraj Rao makes his presence felt as the motivational speaker. Chandan Bisht, Danni Wang and Amit Bimrot are adequate. Others are okay.

Mikhil Musale’s direction is as confused as the script. Musale seems to be quite clueless about the purpose of the film. For, it neither entertains nor educates. Even the story doesn’t convey much. Sachin-Jigar’s music is okay. The two Gujarati folk songs — ‘Odhani’ and ‘Sanedo’ — are, of course, superhit numbers and they come as a whiff of fresh air in the otherwise boring film. Lyrics (by Niren Bhatt, Priya Saraiya, Vayu, Jigar Saraiya and Sachin Sanghvi) are okay. Vijay Ganguly’s choreography is quite nice. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s camerawork is fairly nice. Mayur Sharma’s production designing and Dayanidhi Patturajan and Amrish Patange’s art direction are alright. Manan Ashwin Mehta’s editing is okay but could’ve been sharper.

On the whole, Made In China has poor merits and, being a flop fare, it will not find appreciation at the box-office. The festive days (after the pre-Diwali weekend) may prove slightly beneficial for the film but alongside that, the negative publicity for the film will prove detrimental to the interests of the film.

Released on 25-10-’19 at Inox (daily 6 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: good. Opening: poor (also because of dull pre-Diwali day). …….Also released all over. Opening was dull everywhere.