MotuPatlu: King Of Kings (3D).......Kid stuff

MotuPatlu: King Of Kings (3D) is India’s own homebred animation film featuring characters of the popular Hindi comic strip of the same name that features in Lot Pot magazine.

Motu and Patlu are brothers, one fat and one thin, who have this tendency of getting involved in odd situations. There has been a fire in the circus and, the lion, Guddu Ghalib, runs for his life. Guddu and Motu Patlu come face to face when the escaped lion lands up in their town, Furfuri Nagariya. Not knowing what to do, they realize that this is a vegetarian lion munching on carrots and radish, they cage him to take him to a jungle and set it free among other animals. They have now become friends with Guddu.

Meanwhile, in the jungle, the marauders led by Narsimha, have descended to loot the goldmine. But, before they dig the mines, they have to contend with, Singha, the ferocious lion king of the jungle who enjoys  following of all animals. After a long fight between Narsimha’s man and Singha,  the latter is killed. The villains are now free to loot the gold.

Motu and Patlu don’t want the jungle to be ransacked which would displace all the animals. They try to convince Guddu to take Singha’s place and lead the animals in a fight with the villains. But, Guddu is reluctant because he knows that he is a tamed lion good enough only for a circus and not to fight villains who are well equipped with modern arms.

However, one war song by Motu Patlu and the rest of the animals and Guddu is ready to fight. A long fight ensues where the animals  together with Motu Patlu and Guddu rout the evil-doers.

The fact that this is an all Indian project may be a matter to rejoice,  but Motu Patlu comes across as the only small kids’ stuff  unlike Hollywood cartoon films which have proved to be popular with all age-groups over a period. Being limited in substance, the film stretches itself too thin with runtime of 110 minutes. The 3D effect makes no difference except being an added attraction.

Motu Patlu: King of Kings may find a better market on video circuit.

Producers: Ketan Mehta, Deepasahi, Anish JS Mehta.

Direction: Suhas D Kadav.

Cast-voices: (Voices) Vinay Pathak (Guddu), SouravChakraborty (Motu, Patlu, Dr. Jhatka, Chingam, Ghaseta).

Anna...Once upon a time...

Anna Hazare hogged the national headlines and TV time on a daily basis just a few years ago. He was a man with a mission and had taken it upon himself to fight corruption and make public servants answerable to people. Having started his movement in his native village of Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar (Maharashtra), he made it to a national level crusader. He followed Gandhian ways of protest to make authorities act.

The biopic starts with school going Kishan Baburao Hazare, played by Shashank Udapurkar, (later to be called Anna the term used for an older brother in Maharashtra) the way M K Gandhi earned the honour of being addressed as Bapu.

Anna has not done his homework and, to escape punishment, lies to teacher that he did his homework but left it at home. The teacher sends him home to fetch his homework, Anna wants his mother to accompany him to school and explain the fact to the teacher. His mother advises Anna to confess and never lie again. This lays the foundation of values in young Krishna Hazare who went on to be regarded as Anna to a whole nation.

The Indian Army was on a recruiting spree. With the fervour of patriotism high, Anna too volunteered. Though disqualified due to his physical attributes, the army, in the need of every extra hand, took him. This was 1960. After surviving 1965 Indo Pak war on the border where his other colleagues were killed, followed by another close shave in Nagaland, Anna was convinced that he was spared death for a purpose.

On his way back after his term with the army, Anna picks up a book by Swami Vivekanand which becomes his inspiration; his mind has been made up. He decides to spend rest of his life serving people. Literature on Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave add to his resolve.

Anna starts his journey to save the way of life of the people in his village. He funds the rebuilding of the local temple from his army savings. He later takes on the building of a lake in the village to save his people from vagaries of rains. He later takes on other issues like setting up a school, regular supply of electricity for the farmers, setting up a grain bank and banishing alcohol from his village. Wherever simple approach does not work, he resorts to the Gandhian way of ‘Fast until Death’.

With successes in his district, Anna’s attention was not focused on corruption on state level in Maharashtra. His first movement against corruption in the state 1991 took place in Mumbai which followed many more causes including the most noticeable Right to Information Act that Anna took up.

Having created a mass following, Anna’s next movement was the Lokpal Bill in Delhi; the passage of this Bill is where the film ends. The film avoids mention or the rise of a new political setup, Aam Aadmi Party, under the umbrella of Anna which changed the politics of Delhi. That is something Anna himself may not be happy with and is not known to have taken up any cause to fight for since.

The script follows a linear narration which feels like reading a book. It barely touches the parts where Anna became a national figure. This makes the film a totally local affair. The film has a Marathi native feeling all through and, save for the language, it could well be a Marathi film.

There is little deviation or imagination at use when it comes to treatment.

Shashank Udpurkar does a good job of imitating Anna’s mannerisms but does not fit into the frame and persona of Anna who still graces the visual media on and off.  Anna as a film is an outcome of its maker’s personal conviction.

Producers: Manindra Jain, Shobhit Kumar, Shekhar Kumar, Uddipt Jain, Aniruddha Gaikar.

Director: Shashank Udapurkar.

Cast: Shashank Udapurkar, Tanishaa Mukerji, Govind Namdeo, Rajit Kapur, Sharat Saxena,

Kishor Kadam.

Saat Uchakke...RIP comedy!

Saat Uchakke follows a simple formula: bring together a bunch of oft-seen character artistes, all bad apples, and let them loose on the screen till as long as they can last. The story idea is that they all nurse bad intentions in that want to make money without toil. Dimwitted otherwise, their only tool of trade is choicest of desi cuss words.

The place is the innards of Old Delhi where Manoj Bajpayee polishes metal antique-look statues to make a living and also cater to the needs and desires of his lady love, Aditi Sharma. Manoj aspires to start his own business for which he keeps borrowing money against his aspirations. Since his aspirations never materialize, he is on the lookout for ways to make a quick fortune.

The basti where Manoj works and lives is an open house in that everybody knows what the other is up to. In midst of the locality is an old haveli occupied by dewan, Anupam Kher.  How he got possession of the palatial haveli is suspect. But, the word is out that haveli is a storehouse of a treasure worth millions and Manoj is very interested. But, such plans as Manoj’s have a way to spread. Soon, there are seven people on board to share the loot.

Having defaulted on his last loan, Manoj decides to do something about the wealth in the haveli. He confides into Aditi and his loyal sidekick. The locality also has a police station where the cop, K K Menon, rules the roost. Menon is also a suitor for Aditi. If there is one reason why he would like to see Manoj behind bars, it is to give him a free run with Aditi. This time Menon has put Manoj behind the bars for a fight in the area.

Ina hurry to execute his plan, Manoj escapes. Since he can’t be seen in the same area, he changes his look to that of a Sikh.

The gang of seven is now ready to strike and embark on the haveli. What follows in the name of comedy is cacophony and buffoonery.

The film looks promising as it moves through its first half but as the characters are added to the proceedings, it goes haywire. Not much to say about technical aspects. As for actors, Manoj Bajpayee is convincing. Aditi Sharma impresses. Kay Kay Menon is good. Anupam Kher and Annu Kapoor are both loud and overact. Vijay Raaz thrives on filthy language as if that was a way to get better of the other actors; he irritates.

Producers: Wave Cinemas, Crouching Tiger, Shital Bhatia.

Director: Sanjeev Sharma.

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Kay Kay Menon, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Aditi Sharma. 

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