Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic Review
Ever since news and publicity about “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic” has been doing the rounds, the film’s director Kunal Kohli has insisted it’s not a Bollywood take on the Hollywood classic, “Mary Poppins”.
Well, he may actually be right. There is a little bit of “Mary Poppins” in the nanny with the magic twist. But, there’s also a little bit of another Julie Andrews film, “The Sound of Music”, with the God’s messenger bringing a father closer to his children twist. And there’s a little bit of the Nicolas Cage-Meg Ryan film, “City of Angels”, with the angel choosing love over God twist.
So there’s a lot of “thoda” from here and there, but there’s also lots of “magic”, making Kohli’s latest film as director and first film as producer, a good old Disney-style movie.
As the movie’s title credits roll, we’re shown the childhood of a young Ranbeer Talwar, who is orphaned at a young age. In boarding school, he is the star student, winning every prize up for grabs and losing everyone he loves – parent, teacher and childhood sweetheart.
The older Ranbeer (Saif Ali Khan) is a yuppie businessman, sweeping awards and women off their feet, until one fateful night when he rams his car into an SUV. As a stunned and speechless Ranbeer steps out of his car, the wrecked SUV is towed away and the dead bodies of Mr and Mrs Wallia are brought out, resulting in his arrest and the bereavement of the four Wallia children.
A landmark judgment is passed and instead of a prison sentence, Ranbeer is assigned the responsibility – financial and emotional – of the four children for a three-month trial period. Should Ranbeer fail, he would face a non-bailable prison sentence.
Needless to say, the kids – Vasisht, Avantika, Aditi and Iqbal – are out for revenge and agree to move in with Ranbeer. However, it’s not smooth sailing and after an unpleasant evening, Ranbeer and the kids look up to God for help.
God, played by an all-dressed-in-white Rishi Kapoor and surrounded by a group of female angels, listens to their prayers and dispatches his favourite angel, Geeta (Rani Mukerji), to make the orphans and their new guardian learn to love each other.
And so, begins an adventure as Geeta enters their lives as a nanny and stays on as their Didi.
The plot is pretty predictable – even though highly implausible. However, for once, there is no melodrama. There is no ridiculous twist. There are no unexplainable details despite the fictitious storyline.
Kunal Kohli sticks to the basic formula of a family entertainer with elements of fun and fantasy and he gets it right.
Clearly, “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic” is a film that has to be for kids, but it’s got that wholesome family feel to it and even the item number with the huge hit “Lazy Lamhe” works as an integral element within the plot.
With a safe and steady script, Kohli’s masterstroke has to be in the casting. Saif Ali Khan is a delight as the stone-hearted bachelor who turns soft. His transformation is believable and the actor’s chemistry with the child artistes is as real as it gets.
Rani Mukerji as Geeta the angel is chirpy in a positive way and manages to steer clear of Bollywood’s annoying good girl characterisation of anything divine.
And what about all those rumours that Saif and Rani barely spoke during the film’s shooting? Doesn’t matter. Ranbeer and Geeta work great on screen.
However, Kohli deserves a huge thank you for his child artiste discoveries. Ranging in the age-groups of 5-11, the kids are a treat to watch. Their chemistry among themselves is magnificent, their acting restrained, their innocence remains without losing sight of the maturity of today’s children, their timing wonderful and their performances sterling.
The characters in “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic” have all been sketched out well, allowing the entire cast to work separately within their skins and as a team.
Although the music of the film hasn’t received great reviews with the exception of “Lazy Lamhe”, it serves the purpose of fitting into the framework of a good Bollywood musical.
Go watch it. And don’t forget your kids. - Vinita Bharadwaj