Thursday, May 31, 2012

Arjun : The Warrior Prince

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 25th May, 2012
Time : 96 minutes
Director : Arnab Chaudhuri; Writer : Rajesh Devraj; Music : Vishal - Shekhar
Starring : (voices of ) Yudhveer Bakoliya, Ila Arun, Ashok Banthia, Ravi Khanvilkar, Sachin Khedekar, Vishnu Sharma

Its well made, the animations lavish & good (not upto par with the usual Disney but getting there), its interesting from a kids perspective but… in the interests of stylization / focusing on Arjun, it makes some serious deviations from the actual Mahabharat, it reduces other significant characters to almost being a caricature, (again, just to make Arjun shine brighter) and it also ends quite abruptly
Am not going to go into the story for obvious reasons. In an interesting twist, the story is narrated by a maid to a young prince, who fancies himself to be a fearsome warrior. Through her eyes we see the events unfold, we see the dilemma’s that present themselves in life and in battle for Arjun, we see how bit by bit, he becomes a true warrior instead of merely being a skilled combatant.

The music is very good, excellent lyrics (Piyush Mishra) and great vocals (the likes of Sukhwinder, Shankar Mahadevan amongst others). The quality of Hindi used in the dialogues is also commendable, even though my kids found it a bit hard to follow. There are some fantastic breathtaking moments of animation – the palaces, the scenery, some of the stunts that are really well done. And most of all, I enjoyed some of the questions that are posed to Arjun while he’s growing up. Would you fight your own guru ? How would you abandon fear ? Should you do whats right even if it means disobeying your king ?
However, as a diehard fan of the Mahabharat, I found it really hard to digest the various deviations they made from the actual story- more so given the fact that young children walking away from the movie will feel that is what really transpired. The first meeting with Karan, the swayamvar, the coronation ceremony in Indraprastha, the meeting with Krishna – for reasons not totally clear, they’re shown differently. Also the might of Bheem, the righteousness of Yudhishtra and the valour of Karan are given short shrift, just to make Arjun stand out.

Also, the animation, while beautiful in parts, lacked the detail / depth of Disney or Pixar, which even today never ceases to amaze me. While here they will show a lovely forest, in Disney films you can see an individual leaf flutter in a tree of the forest. I also missed the inherent humour that resides in most western animation features, though Shakuni was probably a good attempt at getting there.
So, while there is a lot going for it, there are, equally, a raft of flaws as well. Just to promote the culture of animated features in our country, though, would recommend everyone to watch this one in the theatre. And to make sure our kids get interested in our glorious epics, would recommend taking them to the theatre as well.


Anonymous said...

When you make a film based on history or mythology, there are bound to be different opinions. As a viewer I was totally impressed as most others were too with this film. Besides the spectacular animation , which I wouldn't compare to Pixar films simply because their budgets are 50 times as much as what we have in our country, what worked for most people is the story was a familiar story and yet it kept everyone engaged completely. Some reviews intact even say, its the 21st century and more liberties could have been taken. That is actually the art of good storytelling. When U can make a familiar story so interesting .u should read up review or even the bhawna sonata zee review or Hindu review. For me its almost world class classic animation and a story well told

Apurv Nagpal said...

hi ! Anon
firstly am glad you enjoyed it and it worked for you. am also glad you took the time out to share your feedback with me.
thought i would explain some of my rationale
1. budget - my rating scale and the price of the theatre ticket is the same regardless of the budget of the movie. my rating for Ice Age or Despicable Me versus Arjun or Roadside Romeo will not be gentler on the latter two because of lower budgets just as for either Kahaani or 500 Days of Summer versus MIB or Avatar the scale is the same. Arjun had good animation, but as a viewer, i know it can be better
2. Mahabharat for me is not just a story, its part of our history. Am all for focusing on certain stories, giving people a certain persona (Shakuni) but not for showing something inaccurate
3. Reducing people like Karan, Yudhishtra to laughable characters was unforgivable - that was the beauty of Mahabharat - the amazing variety of strong characters - even Duryodhan and the laughable fight scene with Arjun where they fight unarmed - remember we are talking about a guy who is a fearsome warrior, whom Bheem couldnt defeat in a straight fight. Have no issues with him being defeated by Arjun in archery (thats reality) but please dont stretch it so far...

Apurv Nagpal said...

i guess my reaction is what someone else would have if the film 'Gandhi' also was replete with factual inaccuracies...thats the pedestal i place the Mahabharat on. Can understand it if it works for you. I love Sherlock Holmes, the original 56 stories and 4 novels. But equally love the new interpretation...

Unknown said...

The attempt to narrate a story which has so many dimensions, given that Mahabharata describes each and every of its character with tiniest of details, in the span of 1 hour and 40 mins is laudable. I liked the fight scenes, they were original (Kallaripayattu was demonstrated in this movie), though the fight between Arjun and Dhuryodhan could have been more detailed and convincing.
Maybe they can have a sequence with the great battle involved and show how the other characters reveal themselves in it (Link of Karna & Kunti, History of Bheeshma Pitahma, Shri Krishna, Father and Mother of Dhuryodhan etc...)

Apurv Nagpal said...

Am glad you liked it, Manya & thanks for taking the time out to post your comment. I felt that in simplifying the story, making Arjun the hero, they got the broad story wrong. Imagine this being someones first exposure to Mahabharat - will come away with a story impression that is quite far to what the epic actually is...