What could possibly be worse than being told right at the beginning through a Lata Mangeshkar haunting cue that you are about to watch a Yash Raj Film? Having Shaan’s borderline-Kumar Sanu-like nasal hum from Fanaa remind you that this is also a Kunal Kohli film.
Which means you will not only be subjected to a world of candyfloss set to tune with the recurring motif of a song cue, but you will also have to endure kids trying to act cute along the way. Four of them psycho-brats in this case. No exaggeration.
If your kid is all set to take a shot at the ball kept on the mouth of a child forcibly pinned down with a golf club, you know he has a problem that requires medical attention.
Unfortunately, Thoda Pyaar is not about mental health though all characters seem to need a little help in that department. First, a never-smiling bitter killer businessman (Saif) who alternates his free time between astronomy and heavenly bodies such as Ameesha (in the role of her career, asked to do only what she is capable of — act cheerfully dumb and wear a swimsuit that plays peek-a-boo with you).
Then, we learn these four compulsively destructive kids are also into organised crime (they buy walkie talkies to sabotage Saif’s potty-routine and occupy all four bathrooms during the rush hour).
Until tech-savvy God decides to dispatch the fattest of his fairies (Rani Mukerji) to help these mentally unstable people find their peace but only after she finishes her ‘Sound of Music’ How-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-Maria routine.
But this fairy seems to have problems of her own. She cannot cry because she’s borrowed from the City of Angels. Like Mary Poppins, she goes down the rainbow on a cycle to meet her Sound of Music charges and takes them out for a Night at the Museum.
Kunal Kohli, who ripped off all the best bits from Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and When Harry Met Sally to piece together his best work till date, Hum Tum, says it like a matter of right when he employs visual effects to morph the Hollywood sign from Hollywood Hills, LA, California, replacing the H with a B.
Now that’s not just emblematic, it is definitive of his work. Take an English DVD, scratch out the Hollywood elements and replace them with the B-movie elements.
Time to shove the Tribute word up the place where it’s coming from and actually contribute, Mr. Kohli. Otherwise, you are just a repeat offender like Sanjay Gupta.
Surprisingly for a Yash Raj-Kunal Kohli film, the young actors aren’t too bad. Rachit Sidana (the Sikh kid) is a natural, Shriya Sharma is a little over-enthusiastic but likeable as always, Ayushi Berman, the quiet sweet one, has little to do but Akshat Chopra (playing Vashisht, the leader of the pack) who seems like a decent actor, is a victim of half-baked characterisation.
Overall, though inspired by a bunch of Hollywood films, Thoda Pyaar is passable fare, especially if you haven’t passed out of Paanchvi yet. Kids being the innocent, unsuspecting customers they are, may not find much to complain. Though the parents might when Ameesha starts cavorting around in a dripping wet bikini during Lazy Lamhe, the singularly riveting portion of the film.
Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Director: Kunal Kohli
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Ameesha
Storyline: A man who kills a couple in a car accident has to take care of their kids as God sends an angel to help them reconcile.
Bottomline: Four psycho kids, a fat angel/aunty, God with a goatie and a Mac-loving businessman who seems traumatised by his super hot girlfriend’s underwater swimming abilities and some visual effects.