Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

It starts with an accident —  a rich businessman (Saif Ali Khan) runs over a couple with his car, and is sentenced to take care of their children until they reach adulthood. Either that, or spend twenty years in the slammer. I don’t imagine too many judges who would think that sticking a bunch of children in the same house with the man who killed their parents is a good idea. And what is more, the kids seem to agree with me.

So God decides they need some help. I don’t mean that rhetorically — God really features in the movie and decides He needs to do something. It might bear mentioning here that, if this is how God dresses, clearly Armani is burning in hell, or worse. So anyway, he decides they need some help, and sends down an angel (Rani Mukherjee). I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

It does work in parts, depending on how much the performance manages to stay afloat despite the writing. Saif is more than adequate as a man whose own guilt is a bigger problem than the kids’ perception of him. If the script had given him something meatier to work with, it would’ve been a thing of beauty. For the most part, it is his performance that props up the movie. Rani Mukherjee is mostly just annoying. You expect sweetness and light and a little humor, but all you get is a bad costume, worse dialogue and a Punjabi accent. The kids are, how do I put it, boring. I don’t think it is their fault, though, that the writing is a by-the-numbers job by someone who either didn’t know better, or didn’t care.

The ones who really shine are Amisha Patel who plays his girlfriend and Razzak Khan who plays his butler. The latter seems to achieve with wordless comedy what he hasn’t achieved with speaking parts so far. And as for Miss Patel, this is clearly her most engaging performance in, well, ever. Since I have a peculiar fondness for coining phrases on the fly, I am going to call the reason for this The Slim Pickens Effect, after the movie Dr Strangelove where Kubrick put Pickens in a comic role but didn’t tell him, so he played it straight. I suppose you understand what I am getting at. But nastiness aside, she really does manage to play ditzy without being annoying, so credit to her.

Let me put it this way. I love the Disney Channel. I know there are card carrying members of the serious movies club who will hate me for saying this, but I actually liked High School Musical. (Although I didn’t care much for its sequel.) I’ve watched more Disney Channel movies than I care to admit.

So it is with this authority that I tell you, dear reader: Kunal Kohli has made an average Disney movie. For the average Disney viewer, that is quite enough. But if that sort of thing is not your cup of tea, you might be better off trying to find something else to watch.

ps: Amrita’s review of this movie – beautifully done!


19 thoughts on “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

  1. Sagarika says:

    Ramsu, when I first heard they were releasing a movie titled Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic my quintessential-Disney-loving heart did a couple somersaults over the moon. I thought Kohli was well on his way to paying me back in kind for my eternal allegiance to him, thanks to Hum Tum. But the traitor that he is, he had to come up with this “plunger” to unclog my commode-of-congealed-dreams. I guess I’ll show him by flushing this one right out, even before it gets anywhere near the clogging range.

    “And as for Miss Patel, this is clearly her most engaging performance in, well, ever.” Priceless!! And what a sly needle in the banana your this-be-the-very-definition-of-perfect-phrase-coinage “The Slim Pickens Effect” was (and oh, I loved your “Locomotive 38” too…Saroyan rules!). I MUST watch Dr Strangelove now…it shall be #2 in my Kubrick queue, only after 2001: a Space Odyssey. Try not to laugh (or cry, coz I know you’re a bit on the weird side, much like me) but his Eyes Wide Shut is the ONLY Kubric movie I’ve watched (with my eyes, mostly, wide shut). 🙂

  2. Sagarika,

    What’s it with you and the netherlands, lady? First there was the Bollywood Colonoscope (wonderfully evocative phrase, by the way) on brangan’s blog, now the commode of congealed dreams. The only people I know who are more obsessed with posteriors are Bayesians and Jennifer Lopez 🙂

    Kunal Kohli used up all his goodwill with me after the unbearably ponderous Fanaa. Come to think of it, all that Hum Tum did was square the debt he owed his audiences after Mujhse Dosti Karoge, so he’s deep in the red right now.

    Put Strangelove above 2001. It’s infinitely more accessible. And incredibly funny, I might add. Peter Sellers appears in three roles, and George C Scott still manages to steal the movie from under his three noses.


  3. memsaab says:

    Hmmm. I think my Disney-loving, Saif-and-Rani-loving heart will like this one. But it can wait for the DVD 🙂

    I liked Mujhse Dosti Karoge and didn’t mind Fanaa as much as others did, so perhaps I am Kohli’s target audience of 1.


    I think Ameesha might have found her niche. She was a wonderful ditz in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd too.

  4. Sagarika says:


    “What’s it with you and the netherlands, lady?” Interesting question. Lemme think. Hey, maybe this commode reference was a rather innocuous inspiration from watching The Chamber of Secrets with my daughter yesterday. Doesn’t Moaning Myrtle say to Harry as he’s about to enter the Chamber, “If you die down there you’re welcome to share my toilet.”?

    Bayesians? Oh you’re referring to (vital) statisticians such as yourself? 🙂 And hey, I quite liked Mujhse Dosti Karoge. One can never go wrong with Hrithik Roshan. (And now let’s wait till Kunal Kohli makes me eat those words).

  5. Ah, The Chamber (Pot) of Secrets — one of my favourites in the HP series. I thought it had among the tightest narratives of the lot.

    And I had completely forgotten about brangan’s closing line in his review until your comment reminded me. It looks like everyone’s concentrating on that part of the anatomy 🙂

    The Bayesian comment was one of my typically geeky ones. The Bayes theorem talks about prior and posterior probabilities, and the Bayesians are a breed of statisticians who revere it. Me? I know less about statistics than about vital statistics, and I’m really hoping my boss doesn’t read this comment and decide to revise my paycheck!

    You liked MDK? That makes two of you, including memsaab. I’m sorely tempted to ask “how on earth?”, but considering the number of Mithun movies I’ve watched and enjoyed, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut 🙂


  6. memsaab says:

    yes, now Mithun I find unbearable. I though MDK was cute. Not great, but cute. And Pinky’s predilection for pink in HTPL only matched my own 🙂 although I don’t indulge quite as much as she did.

  7. Amrita says:

    You know, I’m a card carrying member of the Disney autopilot nation but I have to disagree that this is an average Disney movie. Enchanted (which I’ve been telling all my friends is Bollywood in English) is an average Disney movie. This is the corpse of a Disney movie that Kohli has the gall to say isn’t based on Mary Poppins. Which is fine, I’m a bolly-lover, I can deal. I’m just sad that Indian kids don’t get kiddie movies that are just that – kiddie movies. And when people like Santosh Sivan and Vishal Bhardwaj try, they get buried. I don’t understand this.

    Also, I’m ashamed to say “make MDK a party of three.” 😳 I thought it was trash when it came out and I still think it’s trash but it’s the perfect blend of corn and cheese for that rainy day when all you want to do is drink some wine and vegetate.

  8. Oh, Enchanted is well above average! Average is stuff like Cadet Kelly, High School Musical 2… sheesh, what have I been watching?

    You’re right about Santosh Sivan and Vishal Bharadwaj not getting their due. When they make serious stuff, the critics sit up and take notice, and adults who love good cinema go watch. When they make wonderful movies for kids, again it’s the critics who sit up and take notice, and it’s the adults who love good cinema who are watching.

    Dear you-know-who, welcome to the blogosphere 🙂


    ps: Maybe one should consider renaming MDK as Children of the Corn and Cheese. It wasn’t that it was a bad plot, even. It was the acting that completely let it down. All three of them looked so tortured in the movie, I half expected someone in a red costume to barge in, shouting “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

  9. Movie is ok ok type…1st half has too much of graphic which look too fake. Considering that this movie is aimed at kids, its too emtional for that. Also, the songs are not really that good which generally takes away my initial euphoria of watching a movie. SEL have done a repeatitive job with this movie tracks though otherwise im a huge fan. IF you also a fan of SEL music, then join in Planet Radio City where you can get all the latest info about ur fav music and singer/composer. Also get lyrics and meet others who like your kinda music.

  10. Another bad review for TPTM. Now I feel terrible for having liked it! 😦 What can I say… I looove cheese, mush, Disney movies and Saif-Rani. Have to jump on the I-like-MDK bandwagon, too. Didnt dislike Fanaa either. Like memsaab, I am Kohli’s target audience!

  11. I am increasingly beginning to wonder if I am in a minority of those who aren’t Kohli’s target audience 🙂

    I quite liked Hum Tum, but outside of that nothing really worked for me. MDK especially — I even watched it a second time a few months ago on TV, wondering if I had missed anything that I might like. Nothing!


  12. I think your Y chromosome gets in the way of truly appreciating Saif or Hrithik’s performances – thats probably why you didnt enjoy either MDK or Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic either! 😉

  13. M says:


    found your blog through Indiequill – fantastic read. Am slowly catching up with your archives.

    Just wanted to add the counter datapoint for MDK – my double X chromosomes made me appreciate Hrithik anytime he was on screen, and the medley song was very nice but painful movie otherwise.

    I’ve stayed far away from TPTM after being doubly burned by KK – MDK and Fanaa were enough…


  14. Dear M,

    Thank you!

    Good call on TPTM. I remember Sanjay Leela Bhansali repeatedly calling Kunal Kohli an overrated director on a Koffee with Karan episode. This, of course, before Saawariya got released. Whatever else you can fault the man for, his taste is fine.

    Bond. James Bond.

    ps: Sorry, couldn’t resist. I blame my Y chromosome.

  15. Finally catching up now that I’ve seen the movie, and I’m with you word for word! As for Kohli, I hated Fanaa, liked MDK (it was my first fillum!), and adored Hum Tum.

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