Monday, November 02, 2009


Rating : 4/10
Release Date : 30th Oct, 2009
Time : ~135 minutes
Director & Writer : Sujoy Ghosh; Music : Vishal-Shekhar
Starring : Riteish Deshmukh, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sahil Khan

This is a kids movie, one which they can enjoy but lacks any depth or even a story to be able to appeal to anyone older. The makers here unfortunately assumed that suspension of disbelief and rampant implausibility are one and the same thing. And they forgot that simplicity, explanation of superpowers is key to the enjoyment of any ‘super hero’ film – ie what can or cant the Genie do, what does the villain want to do & why are treated with a cavalier-ness which bemused me.

So, we are treated to a beautiful special effects created city called Khwaish where a character named Aladin, because his parents believed in the magic lamp (as did his grand dad, proving once and for all that madness is hereditary), is still tortured by classmates to rub lamps. One day a pretty young thing, an exchange student named Jasmine, arrives on campus and becomes the object of affection for Aladin and his chief torturer. Soon after Aladin is actually given the magic lamp and soon disbelievingly encounters a very hip genie named Genius, who wears cool threads and goes ‘Yo, Bro !’. All should be well, happily ever after, except there is a weird character called Ringmaster, accompanied by some dangerous circus freaks, who also want the lamp.

The special effects are nice. The circus freaks interesting in their conception. I applaud the fact that they made it without any A-list stars. Sanjay Dutt imparts as much life as is possible to the Ringmaster’s role. And Amitabh Bachchan probably imparts a tad too much life into the genie. Jacqueline looks pretty as intended while Riteish looks weepy, behaves like a wimp throughout the film and it comes as a surprise when she falls for him in the film (proving once again beyond doubt that ‘love is blind’). We never understand why the ringmaster wants the lamp or the connection of the comet to the whole thing, we never realise the extent of the Genies powers or the force field that magically comes around him when certain conditions apply.

The names, Genius, Khwaish imply a degree of childishness. This is confirmed by the lyrics of most songs like ‘Aladin, din din de taali’ and the quality of dialogue throughout the film…I mean, how many times can you use ‘agar usne palat ke dekha to matlab who tumse pyaar karti hai’ ? It was cute in DDLJ but that was 14 years ago !

I know you shouldn’t compare but in the Disney cartoon, Aladin was a street smart, lovable rascal. You cheered for him, felt elation at his success. In this film, the makers chose instead to make us feel pity for him, to be touched by his loneliness. On that one account alone, the film loses its spark, its life.

Give me the Disney cartoon of the same name anyday.

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