Clichés on Board
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DIRECTOR: Nikhil Advani
Voices: Govinda, Boman Irani, Urmila Matondkar, Sweeny Khara, Akshaye Khanna, Suniel Shetty
A bunch of animals are off on a mission. To tell the powers-that-be in New Delhi that their forests are in mortal danger, and so are they. Cub leopard Yuvi, his feisty mom, a chatty parrot, a large bear, and a wicked monkey set off on a journey full of adventure. Nikhil Advani's Delhi Safari does a great service to the animation-for-kids genre by stepping out of the tired mythological stories, and creating animals with distinctive personalities.
And all through this tale, there are bits and pieces which keep you with the plot. Yuvi (Khara) is cute and anxious, his mom (Matondkar) is properly maternal, the parrot (Khanna) is nice and baatooni, the bandar (Govinda) is suitably badmaash, and Bagga, the bear (Irani), is big and wise. Some of the animation, in 3D, is slick and fast-paced.
But the film, with its major nods to the Madagascar series, and a few Lion King-like scenes, is not madly original. It also slows down in places to include other incidental characters. It is much too dependent on Bollywood clichés: the bandar is a loud Purabiya character, never missing an intonation but becoming flat after a while, a Rajasthani crane couple is very filmi Marwari and nearly incomprehensible, and so on. And why, why do all animated animals have to sing and dance? This kind of film is fine just the way it is, why should it be burdened with item numbers, the biggest cliché of all?
And finally, it is great to have a message in your film. But when it makes the film preachy, some of the fun is leached out. Save the environment at all costs, but keep the entertainment ticking. SG