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For a few magical moments

Peacocks fly, lion rajas hip hop, a blue baby elephant pouts, bugs bunny bounce, and (Baal) Ghatothkach performs more magic tricks than Merlin, writes Khalid Mohamed.

movie reviews Updated: May 24, 2008 01:07 IST
Khalid Mohamed
Khalid Mohamed
Hindustan Times
Review: Ghatothkach

Ghatothkach
Direction: Singeetam Srinivas Rao
Rating: ***

Peacocks fly, lion rajas hip hop, a blue baby elephant pouts, bugs bunny bounce, and (Baal) Ghatothkach performs more magic tricks than Merlin. Unarguably, the first half an hour or so of this animation feature directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, is sheer delight.

Evidently, the 77-year-old director reputed for his wry sense of humour (Pushpak, Appu Raja.. forget Mumbai Express though) is tapping the puckish child in him. He wants kids — young and grown up — to have a pop-the-corn time. And you do for a while. The picturisation of the songs — particularly the title track and then Angalik bangalik jadoo hai — are imaginative and high-adrenaline.

Clearly, though, animation in India still has endless miles to fly. The auspicious thing is that the trip towards Disney-Pixar standards has at least taken off the ground. The draftsmanship and colours have improved, yes, but detailing hasn’t. For instance, almost all the women characters look the same here — with maidan-sized eyes, lotus lips and Shakira-style hips.

Rao, also credited as the music composer, conjures a background score straight out of Titanic, except for a few mandatory flourishes of Indian classical. Be that as it may, it’s the scripting that needs major finessing. The story of Ghatothkach – the son of Bhima and Hidimba – keeps wandering restlessly into the multiple routes of the Mahabharata. The focus blurs. Consequently, the transition of Ghattu to the adult Ghatothkach is somewhat confusing. Like it or not, the second-half of the well-intentioned enterprise literally ends up losing its plot.

By comparison, Shemaroo’s Bal Hanuman was the easier-to-grasp animation entertainer. This one has its excellent moments, leaving you craving for more. Next time, could we have some more of the Angalik bangalik joie de vivre please?