Children, they say, form the destiny of a nation. If film avatars of Indian children are any alibi - especially these three kids in search of an ever-elusive Raju Chacha - great are the chances of India in the millenium that has finally arrived by any count.
Rohit, Rahul and Rani, the three musketeers/mascots of Raju Chacha, are your
smart kiddos. They use latest gizmos in the shape of toys to terrorize their ex-teachers
and the new governess. Later, these whiz kids, reared on computer games, manipulate
their remote control toys as efficient warfare in "Operation Freedom". Most important
of all, they are not shell shocked or traumatized even when they suffer an atrocity
The kiddies are a headache for their loving papa, though. Siddhant Rai (Rishi Kapoor), their father, who is as principled and idealistic as his name suggests, is a successful and respected engineer. Big dams he builds and mends, but damning his brats is all that he can manage as a suffering widower. The threesome uses the hi-tech house he has built for them to pack off teacher after teacher.
At last, Papa Dear finds a governess, the loving yet strict Ana (Kajol, with shades
of KKHH). After the initial childish attempts at warding her off, the girl, brought
up in a missionary orphanage, manages to win over the kids. So a re-play of The
Sound of Music (especially the Rai house is its exact remake), you think,
right? Ah, that is not to be!
Enter a con man (Ajay Devgan). He mistakes the sidhi-sadhi, bholi-bhali Ana
for an heiress, and uses every trick to win her over. The poor soul in her innocence
believes his sob story. But all is not fair in love as war. About to marry her,
he is exposed as the thief that he is. Heartbroken Ana is whisked away to her
Meanwhile, Raisahib's relatives, his brute of a brother-in-law and the contemporary
version of a Shakuni Mama, manage to break the dam that he was saving.
As their age-old villainy is sure to be exposed, they finish off all the good
souls, Raisaheb included.
These villains are mean, moreover, to the lost trio in a sadist way that would have landed them in jail as pedophiles if they were indulging in such practices in the Western world. Some luck they have that the film is censored by Indians. This lucky streak is cut short pretty soon, because the Raju Chacha the kids had lost to their Papa's anger stages a comeback.
Supposedly family viewing (released on the Ramzan Day), the three and a half hour
long film is lavishly mounted. The dome of a dream house that the children live
in is futuristically shot. In the first half, the film is a visual treat, indeed,
what with the computer graphics and the animated cartoons (clear echoes of The
Lion King and The King And Mr Bird). The Himalayan locale, where the
action mostly takes place, is a delight to watch, too.
What gets on your nerves is the impossible story line that drags on and on without any efficient editorial services. The predictable developments that stretch your capacity for make-believe violently drown the effective performances by Ajay Devgan, Kajol (on her come back trail) and Rishi Kapoor. Sanjay Dutt's special appearance is cool, too. The songs, the comedy and the villainy try your patience, though.
In brief, if gore and antics are child's play for you, 'chacha zindabad'
should be your logo, too!