What's it about: Synonymous with magic, spells, charms and a genie that grants three wishes, Aladin is the Spiderman of the East.
There have been several TV and film adaptations of this tale of a boy with a magic lamp that changes his destiny. Now Sujoy Ghosh gives the story a desi spin, lacing it with everything Bollywood â song, dance and drama.
Aladin / Aloo (Riteish ) lives in the small yet spectacularly crafted town of Khwaish. Not meddling in others' affairs, his name is more baggage than an asset with his childhood spent with a bunch of friends making him rub lamps in the hope that a genie pops out.
Things don't change much once he grows up, except that he stumbles upon the real deal a lamp with Genius (Amitabh Bachchan) the genie.
Somewhere far, far way, a Ring Master (Sanjay Dutt) an evil genie holds a key to finding that lamp and using it to destroy the world. Along the way, Aladin falls in love, learns to sing and dance, and eventually makes good triumph over bad.
What's hot: Aladin is visually a winner with it's state-of-the- art CGI and graphics. The panoramic 360-degree shots of Khwaish town, scenes between Aladin and Genius, a guitar turning into a melodic frog, and the climax have some pretty eye-popping moments. The opening is neat as well, giving you a feel like you are on a visit to the Grimm brothers who are busy writing yet another fairy tale.
What's not: There is very little consistency in the plot. In fact, there is very little of what can be called a plot. Aladin seems like a collage of some interesting scenes put together to make a movie. While the characters are in place, they either seem to be caricatures (Genius and Ring Master) or one-dimensional zombies sleepwalking through their roles (Aladin).
Granted the special effects and the wizardy is enchanting enough to appreciate the hard work that went behind putting up those green screens, but dude... where's the kahani ? It's like there is a drum follow without a follow-up.
The post- genie Aladin isn't that different from the one before, except that he has a new found friend in a charged-up and over-animated Genuis.
Vishal-Shekhar's score is in sync with the genre, but the songs pop out of nowhere like those annoying internet ads you want to block! Riteish looks but doesn't feel the part. His Aladin takes too long to realise the real hero within him, and by the time he does you wouldn't care to bother. For Bachchan, it's all about indulgence.
Wearing shimmering jackets with kohl in his eyes and designer hats, he puts on a show that he truly enjoys. He's having a jolly good time in the film, whether or not his co-star is, is a different tale.
Jacqueline's debut is too beauty pageant like with most of the screen time devoted to flashing that smile, looking radiant and making sure her hair is well conditioned.
Sanjay Dutt, who has the edgiest character, seems totally out of place. Lost in translation he hides the flaws and the unease behind that twirled moustache and crazy dress.
What to do: Aladin excels in the SFX department, setting a benchmark for others to follow, but as an engaging fairy tale that weaves magic and mystery it fails on every front. Revisit the 1992 Disney animated classic instead, it's definitely a better bet.
U/A; Fantasy, Romance
Dir: Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Sanjay Dutt, Jacqueline Fernandes
Aladin At a theatre near you....
Regal (3.15 pm)
Inox (10 am, 12.30, 3, 5.45, 8.25, 11 pm)
Metro Big (6.25, 8, 10.45)
Plaza (3.30, 9.30 pm)
Fun (10.30 am)
Fame Malad (5.30, 8, 10.30 pm)
Sona Gold (12.45, 8 pm)