Raghuvir Mehta is a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur, who fails at every new business venture he sets up. But a trip to China promises to change that and Raghu bites the bait. But soon as a result of this, he finds himself as a prime suspect in the murder of a Chinese General, in India.
At first go, Made in China starts off on a sure footing as it sets itself up as a crime investigative story. A Chinese General is found dead after he helps himself to a cup of Chinese ‘Magic Soup’. The investigators believe that an ingredient found in the soup, which is derived from tigers, is the reason behind the General’s death. The owner of the soup company, Raghuvir and those who worked with him are summoned to get to the bottom of this mystery. And from here on, the film goes into a long flashback mode. In fact, so long, that you may not be blamed if you forget mid-way that this was all being related to uncover the story behind the death.
After a series of failed businesses, Raghuvir aka Raghu (Rajkummar Rao) finally hits the jackpot as an underground supplier of a potent Chinese aphrodisiac. Though his journey to this successful stage of his life is an amalgamation of interesting anecdotes and people. There is his unplanned meeting with a potential invester, Tanmay Shah (Paresh Rawal); his daily dose of motivational mantras from the youtube videos of Mr.Chopra (Gajraj Rao), who spouts gems like, “Dimag ideas ka gamla hain,” ; his loving relationship with his wife, Rukmini (Mouni Roy), who he wants to see happy at any cost; his condescending rich uncle Mota Papa and cousin, Dhanraj (Sumeet Vyas), and finally, his most lucrative collaboration with Dr.Vardhi (Boman Irani), a 70 year old sexologist.
Rajkummar Rao is endearing, sincere and heartfelt as the bumbling, under confident Raghu, who at the same time is also passionate enough to follow his calling, no matter how many times he fails. Boman Irani is a delight to watch as he gives an impassioned performance as Dr.Vardhi. Gajraj Rao, Paresh Rawal, Sumeet Vyas are in fine form. Mouni Roy as Rukmini puts in a decent effort.
The setting and mileu of Ahmedabad is captured well. However, where Made in China falters is the weak storyline with digressions in the narrative and portions that feel like a stretch. There are some sparks of humor and a few crude jokes thrown in here and there. At the heart of it, Made in China carries the message of normalizing conversations around sex and exposing the taboo and hypocrisy surrounding it, which is a commendable effort but it also does get preachy. Overall, this one is Rajkummar Rao’s film all the way and worth a watch to savor his acting prowess.
The Final Verdict: It’s the performances that peak.
Review by Allmovies