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 Hanuman - Animated movie

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PostSubject: Hanuman - Animated movie   Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:56 am

HANUMAN




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Movie Review:

How many full fledged animation movies can one remember that have been completely created out of India? Worse, how many of them have actually got a country-wide release? Practically NIL. Except for children's movies like 'Chota Chetan', 'Chota Jaadugar', 'Makdee' amongst a few others, Indian audience has seldom witnessed an animation or a children's movie reaching the theatres and that too in a big way. On these grounds, Percept Pictures Company, Silvertoons, Sahara One Motion Pictures and director V.G.Samant deserve an applause for coming up with a movie belonging to a kind that breaks away from the conventional way of movie making! With Hanuman, one expects many more production houses to wake up to the fact that such movies are now a reality in India too and worth pumping their money in.


So does Hanuman indeed turn out to be India's best ever animation movie? YES. Does it meet the expectations that one had set after watching the promos? Is it as entertaining as one would have expected from this mythological tale? Well the answer to both these questions is - Yes, but partly. That's because so much has been stuffed in those 100 minutes that at places it appears that instances from the life of Hanuman are just joined together with not much continuity between them. Agreed that it is almost impossible to accommodate everything in a movie but still a little more linear narrative for this story [which is already known to millions] would have only helped the caused. Still, it has to be agreed that the effort is praiseworthy and the movie never fails to engross you throughout its duration [credit this to some good visuals and background score but more about this later].

As said earlier, the story of Ramayana [and hence Hanuman] is known to most of the folks visiting the theatres. Movie begins with the 'rakshasas' creating havoc with their misdeeds. To suppress this act, GODs came up with a strategy to send the 'avtars' of Vishnu and Shiva in the form of Ram and Hanuman respectively on earth. Their mission was to destroy the evil and pave way for a better place for the mankind to live. So while Ram is born to Dahsrath and Kaushalya, Hanuman is born to Anjani, a female Apsara and the Moneky King Kesari.


Blessed with supreme intelligence, strength and divine powers, he turned out to be a friendly [yet naughty] kid who made friends with everyone from birds to animals. As he was growing up, one of his pranks resulted in a 'shrap' from a 'sadhu' that made him loose all his divine powers. But that was not too much of a cause of worry as GODs knew that he would get back his powers when he needed them most. One of the not-too-known chapters in the life of Hanuman is shown as his meeting with Ram in his childhood days when he disguised himself as a 'madari-ka-bandar' and became Ram's friend only to be later recognized by him and sent back to return at most opportune moment.

Years passed and Hanuman became a complete 'ram-bhakt' with chants of 'Sri Ram' day in and night out. Meanwhile enmity between Sugriv and Bali brings the former close to Hanuman. During one of those days, Hanuman again came in contact with Ram who was now in exile. How he helps Ram in finding Sita, destroy Lanka, save Laxman and gets a boon from Ram to be immortal forms the rest of the tale!

What the movie boasts is good visuals and background score. Undoubtedly this is the best ever visual treat that an animation movie from India had to offer on the big screen so far. Though one (over)expected the visuals to be highly comparable to the ones we see in Hollywood movies like 'The Lion King' or the 'Shrek', it comes as a bit of disappointment as 'Hanuman' is some little distance away in that regard. Still, for people in most parts of India [where animation movies from Hollywood have not really made inroads], Hanuman would be a unique experience overall. Another plus point is the music [Tapas Relia] that goes along with the narrative exceedingly well. The only number that comes in its entirety is 'Akdam Bakdam' [Hanuman's childhood song] and sounds [and looks] quite pleasant while the background music throughout the movie works quite well. The sound design gives a viewer an experience as if they are watching a true real movie rather than an animated flick.

Where the film doesn't work totally is the narrative as 1) it seems to be disjointed at places only taken forward with the help of Mukesh Khanna's voiceover and 2) some of the critical sequences being finished off in an hurry (e.g.: Ravan's execution). Yes, there are some sequences that have been well knit like the one when Angad threatens Ravan to leave Sita else his kingdom would be destroyed. Also the entire sequence of Hanuman visiting 'Paatalpuri' where he meets his son and the scene thereafter is quite impressive. The visuals are quite impressive towards this part and also bring to fray some of the untold [or lesser heard] chapters from Hanuman's life. Mukesh Khanna does a balanced as a voice behind Hanuman and never goes over the top while the kid [or is it an adult?] who has given the voice for the young Hanuman is all sweet and adorable.

Hanuman can be added to the list of movies that kids may want to add to their list this festive season. Though adults may not really flock the theatres on their own due to a heard before story, children may just about pull them along to watch the movie! Such movies are not expected to open with a 70-100% initial on the opening weekend [at least presently in India] and require a longer stay at the theatres and a strong word of mouth to consolidate their position. By the way, there is mention of Akshay Kumar also towards the pre-climax of the movie. To know more watch the movie!!
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