<Review by: Anuvrat Bhansali>
Directed by Arnab Chaudhuri. Featuring the voices of Yuddvir Bakolia (Arjun), Ila Arun (Kunti), Anjan Srivastava (Lord Shiva) , Sachin Khedekar (Lord Krishna) and Vishnu Sharma (Bheeshma).
It’s time for summer holidays, Big Brother Bheem had already arrived last week but the kids want more and more! A fragmentary depiction of the Mahabharata from the eyes of its most important character, Arjun – The Warrior Prince (ATWP) is a delight for the kids because of its great animation and simple storytelling. The actual story however, doesn’t include some key incidents of the Mahabharata and the epic war of Kurukshetra, making it an unfinished creation for an audience beyond kids.
If you’ve read the Mahabharata, you would know that Arjun, the bravest of the five Pandavas and the greatest archer the world has ever known, is the central character of the epic. In his early days, it becomes clear to him that being a real warrior has to do much less with the skills but with character and understanding of the human existence. Living under the shadow of his guru, his elder brother and his cousins, the Kauravas, Arjun comes face-to-face with the evils of human society and his unpreparedness to defeat them all. Being a royal warrior, he has to go through multitudes of experiences and vicissitudes of his inner demons before he can avenge himself and his family name.
Announced in 2008 and co-produced by UTV & Walt Disney, ATWP has marvelous animation with fine detailing but it’s still far behind all those Hollywood visual treats we are used to. But it’s a milestone for animation films in India. The sequence where Arjun displays his archery skills to his future wife – Panchali and other kings will make you believe that the Indian animation industry has truly come of age. The hitch is that though Mahabharata isn’t fiction, the animated characters still have strange facial expressions. Perhaps, that’s how humans looked back then.
The voices – some are extraordinary and some just a plain misfit. The eldest Pandava – Yudhishthira, about to lead a war and a kingdom thereafter, has absolutely no command on his voice. This is a big disappointment for such an outstanding animation effort. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is ordinary but the background score is decent.
The movie has been made specifically for kids and not for the argumentative grown-up. Still it’s unimaginable why the team behind ATWP would leave a big portion of the epic untold and not go that obvious extra mile to give folklore, the grand conclusion it deserves. A big opportunity lost by the makers but kids should look forward to it.