Review: Roadside Romeo
Voices: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Javed Jaffrey
Direction: Jugal Hansraj
Why take a worn-out Bollywood 'love triangle' plot and throw it on an animated film, the first of a collaboration between Yash Raj Films and Walt Disney Pictures?
If the Roadside Romeo director Jugal Hansraj had set out to make India's first 3D animation film, then he could have imagined a better plot. Instead, as a writer, he seems to have spent an inordinate amount of effort coming up with tapori lines and peppering the plot with tributes to Yash Raj (the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge climax, for instance) and Karan Johar ("Tussi na jao").
The animation (Tata Elxsi/VCL) is remarkable in its detailing (down to the shop signs and graffiti on the walls). There are some cute characters, too, like a cat which wants to be a dog bhai. The eponymous Romeo (voiced by Saif Ali Khan) is a 'dude' who is hanging around with a bunch of street dogs.
Romeo gives them makeovers and starts a salon, which brings him to the notice of Cheenu the Chamcha (Sanjay Mishra) of Charlie Anna (Jaaved Jaaferi). If not paying hafta to the fat don and his avenging angels (three high flying, karate kicking female dogs) was not bad enough, Romeo falls in love with the snow white bar dancer Laila (Kareena Kapoor). She is Charlie Anna’s heartthrob..naturally.
It's pretty flimsy as plots go and far too long to hold the attention of children –not to mention a passionate kiss out of place in a kiddie film. Grown-ups might find some chuckle worthy lines—like Charlie's South-accented speech, take-offs on Shah Rukh Khan and other stars, and a literal translations of English lines to Hindi.
Problem is that this sort of a spoofy effort has been seen before in any number of live action films and TV comedy shows. The animation is marvellous, if only the rest of the film could have kept pace too.