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Good, bad and ugly of animation movies in 2008

There were quite a few animation films that released in 2008. While Roadside Romeo at least stood out from animation point of view, Jumbo made waves due to the Akki factor.

entertainment Updated: Jan 01, 2009 13:48 IST

There were quite a few animation films that released in 2008. However, not even one of them turned out to be successful at the box office. Roadside Romeo at least stood out from animation point of view while Jumbo made waves due to Akshay Kumar factor. However, rest just fizzled completely hence putting a question mark on the future of animation films in India. Here is a low down on the performance of some of the most notable animation films which were unleashed to the audience in the year gone by.

Roadside Romeo:
If not for Yash Raj Films' practice of promoting their films to the minimal, Roadside Romeo could well have been the second Bollywood animation film to have worked with the audience after Hanuman. While one or two have still been decent attempts at the least, the remaining have been plain shoddy.

Things could have just gone right for Roadside Romeo had it been pitched amongst the audience in a better way. It was released sans any fanfare and worse, the two best parts about the film – its animation and coming together of Saif and Kareena behind the mike – were not just not highlighted enough for the audience.

Roadside Romeo may not be quite emotionally charged or hilariously funny like its Hollywood counterparts. But still, it is watchable at the least. And for that, most of the credit should go to Tata Elexsi – VCL that has managed to get some stupendous 3D animation in place. Whether it is shot taking, moving frames, transition from one situation to another, lip movements or lighting – everything about Roadside Romeo comes across as a fresh experience. In fact for those who haven't been exposed to the Hollywood animation flicks, this is a truly unique experience.

While promoting Jumbo as an Akshay Kumar film, the makers chose not to high light the fact that the film was neither an Indian product nor had it been made in collaboration with an International animation house. Instead, Percept Picture Company had claimed the rights of a Thai film that went by the name of Khan Kluay.

Nevertheless, the film boasted of good animation and was a good full fledged musical (Roadside Romeo was a musical as well but the music wasn't as good) to arrive on the big screen. Add to that actors like Lara Dutta, Dimple Kapadia, Gulshan Grover and Rajpal Yadav joining Akshay behind the mike and it was a Bollywood treat for children. If not for its arrival next to Ghajini, it would have done much better at the box office.

This was an animation film which actually managed to hold your interest at least at the script level. Otherwise if one looks at the plethora of animation films which have released in the year gone by, majority of them have failed at the story level, let aside animation which by itself has been nothing great shakes.

However, the area where Dashavatar wins is that it tells a story which has been hitherto untold to majority of viewers in India, at least through the medium of cinema or television. Moreover, with good animation to match (at least by Indian standards), it only makes the experience more engaging.

First half of this animation film followed a standard route as adopted by many a mythological animation movies coming out of Bollywood in recent years. The 'natkhat' ways of a child, his escapades with all living beings, be it humans, animals or demons, his love for nature – all of this has been explored to the fullest by many a film makers in the recent past. Nothing wrong with this actually. After all it is a genre and the same holds good even for action, comedy, romantic or family tales which are bound to have a similar look and feel.

Still, overall Ghatotkach was a very average film which had something going for it by means of visuals that were indeed unheard of (before the release of Roadside Romeo) and surpassed the standards (although not quite high) set by it's predecessors.

Prithviraj Chauhan
If after watching a film, you are made to log on to internet right away and explore further details about the subject and story line, you can certainly say that the makers have succeeded in telling an interesting tale!

This is what happens the moment you are through with watching 80 minutes of drama that unfolds in animation film Prithviraj Chauhan. For a change, you no more care about the quality of animation (it is substandard) but are intrigued by the sheer story line and narration. One can question the mediocrity of animation here but certainly not direction which manages to keep a stranglehold on proceedings without letting boredom slip in.

Prithviraj Chauhan was a 'direct to DVD' release rather than coming at theaters. A good move since the animation's canvas isn't quite suited for the big screen. However, instead of numerous animation flicks which are arriving at theaters these days and are primarily catered at children, Prithviraj Chauhanboasts of a story that has a good appeal for adults as well. Watch it for its drama and forget about the animation quality!

Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang:
This movie had some interesting voiceovers but animation wise, it just remained sub standard. Add to that the characters in the film that hardly appealed and one knew before the release of the film itself that it won't do well at the theaters.

The promotion of the film was patchy and there was no target audience defined. Result? A film that was certainly one of the most ignored and forgotten animation flicks that have been unleashed on the unsuspecting audience.