Chandni Chowk to China is a 'senseless' film according to star Akshay Kumar. But you would have to leave your eyes and ears as well as your mind at the cinema door to enjoy this mishmash of a Bollywood film.
Billed as the ultimate Boll-iental experience, the idea of a Bollywood blockbuster that captures the Chinese imagination bankrolled with the clout of Warner Brothers is clearly a potential goldmine.
The popular feel-good films of these two mega nations have much in common, with their tendency towards sentimentality, huge set-piece scenes, story lines littered with impossible coincidences, and references to folk tales and history. The nations have a long history of parallel fortunes, from the rise of Buddhism after monks travelled across the Himalayas to India (retold in Damon Albarn's recent hit Journey to the West) to their rapid rise up the global economic ranks in the last decade.
A film that combined the king fu class of China with the emotion and drum beats of Bollywood in a tale revolving around fatherly love and rags-to-riches morality should be truly unforgettable in both countries.
But Nikhil Advani's film flops, not least in the eyes of the large number of Chinese who walked out of the red carpet première in Leicester Square on Monday night.
Anyone with any understanding of the Chinese psyche would be extremely wary of basing a film around the premise that a bunch of idiotic and gullible villagers would need the help of a foreigner who mistakes himself as the reincarnation of a Great Wall warrior to reclaim their land. The few dance numbers involving the Chinese were stylistically drab bearing in mind the richness of Chinese art and culture, the odd token fan and a strange reference to Shanghai gangland the only attempts to include anything vaguely 'oriental'.
Neither could a surprise appearance from Hollywood godfather Amitabh Bachchan assuage the disappointment of the Asian audience, denied any semblance of a sympathetic character in Akshay Kumar's ridiculous chef who travels to China on the supposed luck of a Ganesh shaped spud. The potato peeler from the alleys of Chandni Chowk turns out to be an ungrateful imbecile, letting his adoptive father down at the point of his death, only to get the girl in a ludicrous fantasy flying umbrella scene completely out of synch with the rest of the bland sets. What strength he displays in his half-hearted kung fu is cancelled out by the immense amount of blubbering between action scenes and the glimpses of Kumar's stage presence are few and far between.
Despite having two roles as twins - one evil, one good - the stunning Deepika Padukone is barely there, left to wander around a 100 metre section of the Great Wall in a daze for much of the film, possibly mystified by the holes in her two plots that include a mad Chinese professor with diamond encrusted hearing aids that act as translators and a third personality as an under performing dancer in a tacky advert.
Quite what Warner Brothers hope to achieve with this first foray into Bollywood is as much of a mystery.
Chandni Chowk to China opens in selected cinemas on Friday, January 16.