Chain Kulii made me think of the old Limca ad. Fun and zesty, full of sun and sport, with a rambunctious soundtrack, and quite a quickie at around one-and-a-half hours running time. It is a total weekend movie; spend your Saturday in the theater with your kids rather than on the cricket field or at the swimming pool. Same effect.
What is also going to work strongly in favor for CKKMK is that even though it is ostensibly a kiddie caper, pandering to juvenile fantasies like a 13-year-old playing on the Indian cricket team with a magical bat, it juxtaposes a very widespread adult Indian fantasy into the story plot as well - that of India winning an ODI cricket series against Pakistan. Now that is a definite come-hither for most red-blooded Indians. Atleast you won't be bored if you accidentally lose your way into this screening.
Like all fairy tales this one too starts at an orphanage, with an indomitable teenager Karan (Zain Khan) eking out the underprivileged life of the Dickensian orphan. The owner of the orphanage is John Kakkad (Rajesh Khera), a study in harmless-evil. He strains to be grotesque and to terrorize the children, while they find his unwashed, humpbacked body to be a source of much mirth.
Pure evil is Raghav (Raj Bansali), the dark-complexioned counterpart of Karan at the orphanage, who sucks up to Kakkad and uses his good offices to boss over the other kids. The kids are a cartoon-cartoon bunch, raggedy and goofy, each one with his own quirk.
The shindig begins when a magical cricket bat somehow lands with Karan, and whoopee! - from squabbling in a dirtyard with the other snot-noses for his turn to bat, he ends up opening for the Indian cricket team, against Pakistan, paired with the very yuppy team-captain, Varun (Rahul Bose).
All of a sudden, there is a burst of hoopla and hullabaloo as Salim Suleiman's De Chakka, a super racy number, builds up a cheerleading mood. The chorus is the scene with Karan playing on the field hitting six after six, with a Mandira Bedi clone in a strapless blouse sitting in the commentators box saying, "I knew it, I knew it!" Much like Spiderman rescuing his damsels in distress against a background of raucously cheering crowds, this scene is the high point and flavor of the movie.
A hammy side-story of Varun's angst and anger against his father for having walked away from his family when he was a teenager, is told in a cursory way. Karan, of course, helps Varun realize he must forgive and reconcile with his father after all. The dialogues are a weak point, rather flat and clichéd, but the film's being short becomes a saving grace, as no situation is built up for too long, making it unbearable.
So thankfully, all the mawkishness and tears are just a driveby - two minutes of complaining, two minutes of tears, two minutes of kiss-and-makeup, and back to the game. Many directors would do well to take a lesson from Kittu Saluja. The best way to cut the risk of boredom is to cut the length.
Kids will love this movie, and the adults who end up accompanying them are not in for a bad time either. The movie is also a treasure hunt of morals, to boot. You can play a nice little game of 'Guess The Moral' for every three scenes with your kid, and who knows, they may come up with something ground-breaking, another tick on your VFM list. Like Kellogg's with iron-shakti, therefore, CKKMK is health bundled with great taste, so dole it out to your brats with a dazzling smile like the mom in the ad. An easy choice.