The good things first. They couldn’t have planned a better date for Chori Chori. Ajay Devgan has just won the National Award and his last releases, Bhoot and Qayamat, have scored on the popularity chart.
After Saathiya and Chalte Chalte, Rani Mukherjee is the darling of the crowds, and another romantic film boasting her name in the credits automatically scores a few extra points at the very onset. And director Milan Luthria – this is his second film — had already impressed with his debut directorial feature, Kachche Dhaage.
Of course, Chori Chori came with a tiny disadvantage. The film had been lying in cold storage for long and despite renewed attempts at raising popular interest with spunky promos on TV, we knew the obvious — it’s, well, an old film. But then the pros clearly outweighed the cons.
Well begun is half-done, they say. Sadly Chori Chori remains just that — half-done. Luthria’s film, after all, begins on a jolly warm note as Khushi (Rani Mukherjee), an orphan raised by a family of traditional wedding singers, meets Ranvir (Ajay Devgan), an architect. She’s fun, he’s sober. She lives with her dreams, he lives with the pang of being rejected by Pooja (Sonali Bendre), the woman he loved.
When Khushi gets the boot from her employer in Delhi, she decides to take refuge in Ranvir’s incomplete new bungalow that he was building for Pooja in his hometown, and about which Ranvir had once spoken to Khushi. His family takes Khushi to be Ranvir’s fiancée. She plays along because she needs shelter. In return, Ranvir gives her the deal, she must help him woo Pooja.
Luthria first half, mostly spent in building this backdrop, is superb. Where he slips, is in resolving the jam in the second. Perhaps he lost interest, given the overt delay in the film’s completion. Or perhaps he simply ran out of ideas. Sad, because he gets first-rate performances from his stars. It’s Rani’s show all the way — she clearly enjoys the comic act. Ajay and Sonali are impressive, though the latter gets a half-baked character (you can’t decide if hers was meant to be a supporting role or a guest act).