Movie Review: ARJUN-THE WARRIOR PRINCE by FENIL SETA
There were a couple of reasons that prompted me to venture for Arjun-The Warrior Prince. First significant reason was the trailer of the film, unveiled 4 years back, and which was spectacular. It was a time when there was an overdose of shoddy animated films, all based on mythical tales. But Arjun-The Warrior Prince stood out, because of its treatment, as evident from the promo. Secondly, my knowledge about Mahabharata has been extremely limited (never read the texts and was not born when B R Chopra’s version was aired on TV). Just like I got my needed gyaan of Ramayana from the successful animated Ramayana – The Legend Of Prince Rama, I expected Arjun-The Warrior Prince to do the needful! Almost 100 minutes long, Arjun-The Warrior Prince has its flaws but at the same time has some dramatic moments that make for a great viewing!
The story of the movie: The Pandavas have a bad time as they are compelled to co-exist with their cousins, the Kauravas in Hastinapur. Arjun, from the Pandavas, turns out to be a good archer but despises violence and is unsure if he’s capable of being a leader. However, circumstances, perseverance, efficient training and words of his guru Dronacharya all lead to Arjun discovering the warrior in himself as he takes on an entire army single-handedly.
Arjun-The Warrior Prince doesn’t throw light on the great war of Kurukshetra. Nor does it show the humiliating vastraharana of Draupadi. The film, as the title suggests, is about Arjun and how he establishes himself as a firm warrior. The beginning portions were disinteresting but film gets damn interesting once the characters are firmly established. The swayamvar sequence, which was shown in the trailer as well, was one of the finest scenes in the film. The animation is 2D, unlike the 3D animation that is in vogue nowadays. Yet, it works well and after Hanuman, this is easily the second best mythological film of Bollywood! Director Arnab Chaudhuri has incorporated various panning and zoom-in shots that were like an icing on the cake in the film. Several scenes of the river and snow-capped peaks seemed straight out of life! The songs and background score too created the right impact. Besides, there’s a parallel story going on as well which boasts of an excellent twist towards the finale. The climax was slightly rushed but nevertheless works well!
Talking of flaws, the film has an erratic pacing at several places. The scenes of Lord Krishna could have been better. Although it’s an animated film, there’s not much humour in the film. In fact, the whole film has an undercurrent of tension going on. Also, the shuddh Hindi might be difficult to comprehend for kids who are the target audience of the film.
The voiceover artists do a great job with the characters not sounding too childish or mature. The animation guys sketched the characters aptly, especially in case of Pandavas and Duryodhan – each one of them looked distinct. Shakuni Mama and his pony were easily the best ones! The music of the film is given by Vishal-Shekhar and has some very peppy foot-tapping numbers (Daanav and Karm Ki Talwar were the best). Even the background score was terrific and escalated the impact in many scenes. Arnab Chaudhuri’s direction had its flaws but was neat overall. Mahabharata is long and complex and to narrate a significant portion from the epic in 100 minutes is a feat after all!
On the whole, Arjun-The Warrior Prince is a rare animated mythological film from Bollywood that is well-made and boasts of an animation that’s surely worth appreciating! Take your kids and they’ll surely enjoy the tale of this mighty prince! The film faced plenty of films before it could get a release. Also UTV team could have generated a little more excitement about the film (although thankfully the awareness for the film was there pre-release). Fortunately, the film has done well in the weekend and should be able to recover costs. First Chhota Bheem and now Arjun-The Warrior Prince, animated Bollywood films are finally finding success at the box office!
My rating-*** out of 5!