Review: 48 years after Babubhai Mistry’s Mahabharat with Pradeep Kumar, Dara Singh, Padmini and Abhi Bhattacharya was released, a full-computerised version of the epic directed by Amaan Khan hits theatres today.
Fully relevant today because it deals with basic human characteristics like greed, duty, fidelity and selflessness, this animated version is like a refresher course for those who may not be well-versed with the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The plot line of this epic, that has always been the basic fabric from which all story-telling in India is woven, remains unchanged. So you have the five-man army of the Pandavas with their common wife Draupadi (Panchali) pitted against the 100 Kauravas led by Duryodhan.
So fragile is the ego, that one mere insult is enough to wage war. Drunk on her own beauty and power Draupadi rebuts Duryodhana. And, her unkind words have far reaching consequences. A long-drawn battle ensues and mayhem stops only when Lord Krishna intervenes.
What makes this version thoroughly enjoyable is the talent that has lent its voice to each of the prominent characters. And there’s a bonus too because the filmmakers have also tried to bring out a facial resemblance between the animated character and the actor who has dubbed for it.
Amitabh Bachchan’s bartitone is used for the stellar Bheeshma Pitamah. Although the Big B doesn’t have muscular arms like his animated counterpart, their faces match.
A superlative list of actors like Ajay Devgn (Arjun), Manoj Bajpayee (Yudhisthir), Sunny Deol (Bheem), Anil Kapoor (Karan), Jackie Shroff (Duryodhan), Anupam Kher (Shakuni) and Vidya Balan (Draupadi) have also infused life into the computer generated characters with their inimitable voices.
On the flip side, the animation effort itself is immature and several notches below those of Hollywood films. Yet the dub effort by the Bollywood superstars uplifts this epic, making it enjoyable.