'Mahayoddha Rama' - Movie Review
The voicing is good, the scripting and storyboarding strong, the background score has soul. Unfortunately it’s the overall chunky, ungainly, antiquated quality of the 3D animation that fritters away all these advantageous and makes the filmed experience less than what it could have been!
Cast(voices): Kunal Kapoor, Jimmy Shergill, Gulshan Grover, Mouni Roy, Mukesh Rishi, Lilette Dubey, Suchitra Pillai
Director: Rohit Vaid
Runtime: 106 mins
Anyone attempting the Ramayana (in animation or otherwise) deserves a big hurrah. It’s a wonderful story about unique characters, valor, myriad emotions and moral turpitude that needs a great deal of investment in terms of production values and craft and this attempt may not quite match up to that expectation, but it’s not for want of trying.
‘Mahayoddha Rama’ may be titled in Ram’s favor but the story is entirely from the point of view of demon god Raavan(Gulshan Grover), the greatest villain, that Indian mythology revers through it’s ancient texts. This particular telling, catering largely to today’s generation, is new age with an irreverence that is amiable and not hurtful to religious sentiments. This film is unique in it’s graphical-visual style, using animation to breathe life into characters that gain added dimensions from the intriguing, quasi-humorous dialogue and pious resonance. Rama(Kunal Kapoor), the India hero from the Ramayana written by Valmiki in the Vedic period, is seen here as a playful, precocious young child who grows up to become the Godly, personable and serene warrior Prince, sent into exile by his wicked stepmother Kaikeyi’s ( Lilette Dubey)machinations, and who takes up arms in order to undo a wrong. His dutiful wife, Sita’s(Mouni Roy) abduction and consequent unwilling incarceration in Ravana’s Lanka forms the basis for his resorting to arms. And as it should be, the extensive finale marks the dominion of good over evil.
The difference in this film is the manner in which Raavan is portrayed- 10 talking heads each portraying different characteristics with one denoted as a Ram bhakt, whose lacerating sarcasm is risible in his chanting of “jai shri ram” at every turn of phrase while another head never fails to pull Lankesh down from his egoistic pedestal. Some of the voices for the heads are wonderfully represented by talented voice artists like Gaurav Gera, Roshan Abbas, Ameen Sayani, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Kikku Shardha and others. Suchitra Pillai voices Shrupanakha, Mukesh Rishi embodies Hanuman while Jimmy Shergill is Lakshman.
The voicing here is distinctive and lends enough heft to the characterizations to make them come alive. The scripting and storyboarding are enunciated with vigor ,valor and disharmonic resonance whenever required. The background score, contributed by the Late Aadesh Shrivastava with wife Vijeta voicing one of the songs, sons assisting in the arrangements and Javed Akhtar adding verse, has enough soul and verve to assist in keeping you engaged. Unfortunately it’s the overall chunky, ungainly , antiquated quality of the 3D animation that fritters away all these advantageous and makes the filmed experience less than what it could have been!
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