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HomeMovie Reviews

Roadside Romeo

  | March 07, 2014 09:48 IST
Roadside Romeo
  • Genre:
    Animation
  • Cast:
    Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Javed Jaffery
  • Director:
    Jugal Hansraj
Roadside Romeo is the first Yash Raj - Walt Disney collaboration and I'm happy to report that the film lifts Indian animation out of the stone age. Technically, Romeo is far ahead of the amateurish animation films we've had to suffer so far. It has sweep, verve and style. Disappointingly however, while the film's craft is ambitious, the content is stale. The beauty of animation is that it sets you free - there are no live actors and therefore no limitations. But instead of letting his imagination soar, debutant director Jugal Hansraj, who also wrote the film, remains firmly grounded in the conventions of Bollywood. So, we have the hero Romeo, voiced nicely by Saif Ali Khan, who falls in love with the sultry singer-dancer Laila, voiced by Kareena Kapoor. This is ostensibly a children's film but it has Laila in a nightclub singing a song that goes, chule na in hoton ko. Romeo is the canine version of Yash Raj's favorite hero Raj - he's upper class, super-cool and good hearted. Laila is the canine version of Dhoom 2's Sunehri. She flutters her eyes and swivels her hips seductively. I was waiting for her to say: are you like checking me out. We've also got a bad guy - Charlie Anna, voiced by Javed Jaffery. Charlie has the hots for Laila as does Romeo. This is the film's dramatic conflict. Both are aided by side-kick dogs of every hue. Some speak Bambaiya street-lingo while another does a UP-Bihar accent. There are a few dust-ups and eventually all the dogs live happily ever after. The best animation such as the films of Hayo Miyazaki and the recent Pixar production Wall E are works of art. They transport us and give us an insight into the human condition. Global blockbusters such as Finding Nemo, Toy Story or the Shrek series work at several levels, appealing equally to both children and adults. I'm not sure who Roadside Romeo is created for. Its humour and plot line of a villain who collects hafta, is not very child-friendly. Charlie Anna has a posse of women fighters whom he calls Charlie's Angels. Their names are Polyester Padmini and Nylon Nina. Will kids find this funny? There are also references to candyfloss classics like DDLJ and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but this film's core audience wasn't born when those films released. Finally, the fatal flaw in Roadside Romeo is that it doesn't have an inner innocence. There are flashes of charm but largely the film is clich?d and predictable. Eventually, it is a Hindi movie that just happens to be animated. Still Roadside Romeo is a leap ahead for Indian animation - hopefully more soaring cinema will follow. Take the kids, only if they insist.
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