Jumbo the bollywood movie has broken some serious pathways into the bollywood animation film industry with excellent computer animation. Although the animation has definitely improved, with the animals, the humans and the backdrop forming a picturesque collage, the story is completely outdated.
Little Jumbo the elephant sets out to look for his lost father and ends up losing his mother (Dimple Kapadia) too. His search leads him to an exiled kingdom which seeks to regain its lost glory under a benevolent prince. Jumbo grows up to become the king’s warrior elephant and leads him into battle for a final conflict with his arch enemy, the belligerent tusker, Bhaktavar (Gulshan Grover). Enroute, our warrior mammoth discover true love too, with his childhood consort, the pink and pretty, Sonia (Lara Dutta).
Animation films can afford to resort to cliches provided they stretch it to the extent of spoof. Unfortunately Jumbo doesn’t get satirical but formulaic. It is severely short on humour with its only coherent comic character being a Zazoo kind of birdie (voiced by Rajpal Yadav).
Jumbo draws its inspiration from Lion King in its coming-of-age theme where a young elephant must reclaim his lost family honour and emerge a winner. But the film not only lacks the grandeur of scale, but also the sheer joyousness of the cult film.
Obviously, Jumbo was not meant to be a Lion King , nor even a Finding Nemo , so we shall not compare….But why must Indian animators pitch their film at a five-year-old IQ? Also, why this Panchatantra comic book feel to the story which is still trapped in the prince-battle-kingdom kitsch? Sitting through a public screening of the film, you are struck by the fact that not a single kid’s chuckle, giggle, guffaw, rings through the hall, as Jumbo pedantically teaches you about desh prem and devotion to family.
The voice-overs of Akshay Kumar and Lara Dutta fail to add the requisite spice. And the only time the film perks up a bit is when Rajpal Yadav chirrups for Dildar, the pesky messenger bird. Time for Indian animation to take a chill pill and bring out the laughs along with the mandatory moral of the story.
Akki is going to kickstart 2009 with his Chandni Chowk to China,
slated for a January 16 release. It will be followed by other releases like Eight by Ten, De Dhana Dhan and Blue and he has approximately Rs 250 crore riding on him. “Every superstar has at least a couple of releases lined up. Even a recession-ridden economy needs entertaining,” he said.
Aamir, whose film has turned around Bollywood, teams up with Munnabhai director Raju Hirani in Three Idiots (a college flick), where he will romance Kareena Kapoor for the first time. He will also release his home production Delhi Belly (in English) with
nephew Imran Khan.
Shah Rukh Khan
SRK starts 2009 with an interesting cameo as a superstar in home production Billoo Barber (slated for release on February 14) and will look forward to ending it with Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan (where he plays an autistic man and teams up with Kajol).
Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan
Abhishek and wife Aishwarya are poised to take centrestage in 2009 with Mani Ratnam’s Ravan and Rajeev Menon’s Dhun. Abhishek will also give SRK a run in February with Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s Delhi-6 (an autobiographical film for the director).
Bollywood patriarch Amitabh Bachchan won’t be missing from action either;he has a wide variety of roles lined up. First, he will team up with son Abhishek in R Balki’s Pa (who made the sweet-in-just-theright-dose Chini Kum). Then he switches roles for Ram Gopal Varma’s Rann. Finally, he has Shoojit Sircar’s Johny Mastana to deal with.
Hrithik Roshan is scheduled to take dirty dancing to dizzying heights in dad Raakesh Roshan’s Kites (Rs 120 crore, a Diwali 2009 release; he is also slated for a guest appearance in Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance, where he, like SRK in Billoo Barber, plays a superstar.
Sallu has huge money riding on him. Over Rs 150 crore is riding on him in Boney Kapoor’s Wanted Dead or Alive, Vipul Shah’s London Dreams and his home productions (Mr and Mrs Khanna and Veer).
Sanjay Dutt has some interesting work in Lamha and Blue.
Ajay Devgan will be seen in 2009 in Toonpur Ka Sultan and London Dreams.
John Abraham will appear in Aditya Chopra’s New York.
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