Rating: Two Stars
The problem with making a comedy about sex in India is that the filmmakers, writers and actors are not as uninhibited as they think they are, and don’t quite believe in the aphrodisiac that they are trying to peddle to the audience. That’s why Mikhil Musale’s Made In China is more about sex education than a cheerful romp about an aspiring entrepreneur who may have hit upon a magic formula to liven up the country’s bedrooms.
Raghu (Rajkummar Rao—the Gujju act as fake as the paunch) is that rare Gujarati business man whose bizarre (square watermelons!) ideas that never translate into profits. He is sent by his uncle (Manoj Joshi) to China, with his nasty cousin Devraj (Sumeet Vyas) for a final attempt at making something of his life, because, clearly listening to a glib guru’s (Gajraj Rao) gyaan is not helping. There he runs into another Gujarati (Paresh Rawal), who, over shared theplas, tells him the customer is an idiot (he uses a word that has been censored) and can be sold just about anything if the pitch is right. Then, he meets Chinese gangster type, who informs Raghu that Indians need sex more than good roads. So, he is to make his fortune selling a Magic Soup made of secret ingredients, including tiger penis, and solving the sexual problems of Indian men.
Raghu himself has no need of it—as his pouting wife Rukmini (Mouni Roy) assures him, “the lift works and the liftman too.” The relationship between this couple is surprisingly egalitarian—Raghu helps her with housework, and shares cigarettes and contraband booze (Gujarat is a dry state) with her, while she threads his eyebrows.
As Raghu goes about his research by meeting a range of quacks who sell all manner of panacea to desperate men, a whole vocabulary of euphemisms and gestures are used for sex, when a word or two would do.
Raghu zeroes in on the cranky Dr Vardhi (Boman Irani), a sexologist, who is not a charlatan, and badgers him till he agrees to support his dubious Magic Soup venture. The film begins with a Chinese general visiting Amdavad, dropping dead after imbibing the liquid, so it is clear right at the start that Raghu’s new business will cause him trouble. After a few scenes it is also evident that the labored and unfunny film will give the audience a headache.
A film with a cast comprising some of the best actors around, that cannot even raise a tiny smile, has no business calling itself a comedy.