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Ghatothkach: An endearing watch
Sukanya Verma |
May 23, 2008 11:28 IST
I always thought of Ghatothkach as one of the most heart-breaking and ignored figures in mythology.
Despite being a half blue-blood, this good-hearted son of rakshasi (demon) Hidimba and Pandava Bheema never enjoyed any royal privileges nor the constant company of his powerful father. But when duty beckoned he sacrificed himself willingly at the great battlefield of Mahabharata like a valiant hero.
All this profundity, needless to say, has no place in Shemaroo Entertainment's animated adaptation -- Ghatothkach-Master of Magic, aimed largely at tiny tots.
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Here little Ghatotkach aka Ghattu with his might and magic tosses green monsters -- looking straight out of Nagraj comics -- right outside the window, rafts on a dispassionate crocodile, saves a family of cheeping birds from the wrath of a boulder and rescues a Dumbo-clone, Gajju from a fierce Sher Khan-clone. Even if tacky, the Disney influence, is hard to miss, especially during fang-less Ghattu's forest-time adventures.
What is really endearing though is the 'Angalika, Bangalika, Jangalika, Rangalika' chanting titular hero himself. He looks (and sounds) cute and cuddly enough to keep you engaged with his antics. The joy-ride ends on an abrupt note once the perky half-demon grows up to be a pot-bellied adult.
Strangely though, he has very little to do post-interval. The story, inspired by director K V Reddy's Telugu film Maya Bazaar, shifts a large chunk of its focus to Ghatothkach's cousin, Abhimanyu and his romance with Balram's daughter, Surekha --who even lock lips, by the way.
Owing to the on-going animosity between the Kauravas and Pandavas, which leaves the latter bereft of their kingdom and luxuries, Balram has a change of heart and arranges his daughter's wedding with Duryodhana's lusty son Laxman Kumar.
What part does Ghatothkach have to play in this filmi triangle? Go ahead, find out.
While this 2D animation might not be ground-breaking and the second half stands on shaky ground with its song 'n' dance overload, Ghatothkach has its enjoyable moments. Like Gajju's miscalculated magic producing hilarious results, Ghattu's Jaws-like face off or Laxman Kumar's Tantri-the Mantri brand of embarrassment. Gauging by the response of a long line-up of kids, seated next to me, they relished it too.
Don't expect to see a complete chronicle of the gadda-bearing paladin though. The narrative steers clear, as much possible, from all things Mahabharata.
Director Singeetam Sreenivasa Rao skips chapters involving any interaction between Ghatothkach and his father, Bheema or our leading man's contribution in the battle of Kurukshetra. Though some of Rao's compositions are incredibly catchy like Main hoon Ghatothkach and Aao na aa jaana, there are too many and too soon.
As far as the animation by Sun Animatics goes, which is mostly old school -- except for the few occasions when the makers decide to employ the motion capture technology to inelegant results, Ghatotkach is passable. The effort deserves some encouragement but poor finishing makes it hard to do.
Having said that, it's gladdening to see an animation in Ghatothkach's honour -- a not-too-often-mentioned personality who went against his rakhsas nature epitomising heroic virtue and scrupulous devotion.