The kids are cool. The colors are cool. The sets are Disney desified. The atmosphere: a shadowy remix of Sound of Music meets Home Alone. The intention, noble. The effort, Herculean. The end result: Er, um, if, but, may be.... Well, okay. Let's not be fastidious. Let's lower our expectations a bit. And let's take a good, hard look at reality. In a season of low IQ-EQ (emotional quotient)-endeavor creativity, where good is being redefined as average, Raju Chacha is good enough.
Three motherless kids who are living with their father (Rishi Kapoor) in a glorious castle get a new governess (Kajol). This is just he beginning of a series of dramatic events which keep flip flopping between tragedy and comedy, thanks to Raju Chacha (Ajay Devgan) and his changing moods. When its sunshine, the bratpack's doing masti in Do-re-me dales or playing Casper-Casper within the castle. All this with a dash of unbridled glee and boundless energy which makes you let out a lo-o-o-ong sigh of relief. Thank God for reel-life kids who behave like a real life kids.?
When it's cloudy times, there's a bit of boo-hoo business about disappearing dads, missing didis, devilish uncles and demoniac aunts. The mean relatives are on a grab-all mission, mindless of the orphans' blight. The castle might go. The camaraderie is waning. The family is breaking apart. Oh, for some sunshine stuff again! Oh, for the return of Raju chacha with the would-be chachi.?
Chacha returns. Chachi returns. And with then returns, a whiff of breezy fun. But just a whiff. For despite its bold and brave endeavors, the Devgan's debut film drags in too many bits and places. Specially jarring are those endless sequences of kootchie-koo between Kajol and her beau. Too much play-acting too many misunderstandings, too frequent song singing, too syrupy kiss-and-make-up kitsch.?
Equally irksome are the villainy parts where an evil trio tries to get hold of the family millions. Sorry Devgans, the pranksters of Home Alone were better, being goofy and mean in good measure. All the trick-n-maltreat parts of Raju Chacha may be reminiscent of the Home Alone series, but the sheer joyousness of teaching the goons some hard lessons is lacking. What works instead is the feel-good feel of the film, specially at this year-end juncture, when Merry Christmas and Happy New Year has just happened.