Being one of the most-revered mythological dramas, coming from the soils of India, Mahabharata, is a tale that is much relevant even in the present times. To seam the epic into an animation film that will allure the children and appease the adults, is a task in itself. However, director Amaan Khan gets it right and does deserve an applause.
For a perfect story-telling skill and for being one of the priced possessions of Indian mythology, the film is a must-watch for children. However, the film does have its drawbacks when seen from an adult eye. The film has an abrupt beginning where we see two brothers quarreling with each other over a gold coin. To their surprise (and audience’s as well) there emerges an eagle, a mighty one in this case, for it emerges out of the coin! This is the eagle from the times when the epic war was fought and the soil of Kurukshetra was soaked in human blood. A massacre that was a product of lust, hate, greed and ego became a saga that will be told and retold for ages and decades. The eagle does just that and explains the importance of being loved and to love. Keep aside the teachings of Bhagavad Gita and it is inexplicable as to how the famous battle of Kurukshetra translates into a lesson for life, as this film’s story has more to do with a simple lesson of love. However, the eagle’s reiteration of the saga becomes a moral for the siblings.
What’s amusing is to watch our favorite celebs in the garb of the age-old mythological heroes. Getting the cast right is also a brownie point the film scores. It is good to see caricatures of these celebs doing a heroic act and delivering dialogues in a mythological slang. It is a delight to watch a lanky yet magnanimous superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, tall, broad-shouldered and muscular. Same goes for Manoj Bajpayee. We see these stars in a never-seen-before avatar – Amitabh Bachchan as Bhishma Pitamah, Shatrughan Sinha as Krishna, Sunny Deol as Bheem, Ajay Devgn as Arjun, Anil Kapoor as Karna, Vidya Balan as Draupadi, Manoj Bajpayee as Yudhisthira, Anupam Kher as Shakuni Mama, Deepti Naval as Kunti and Jackie Shroff as Duryodhana. A major turn-off, however, is Vidya Balan’s caricature which is way too muscular and broad-shouldered for a strong yet dainty female protagonist.
The film righteously captures the essence of the epic tale. It is rich in the entertainment quotient and is educative as well. Keeping the use of Sanskrit minimal, the film gives away a wonderful explanation of some verses from Bhagavad Gita and thus, is a good learning experience. The dialogues and the scenes of the film are very well-crafted and the emphasis is paid on the crucial parts of the epic drama. The direction is superfluous and adds to the emotional component of the story. The music of the film is good, especially the song Dharamkshetra, sung by Kailash Kher which attracts the viewer’s attention with its hard-hitting lyrics and imagery.
The film falters in some places and gets a few facts wrong. Especially, when you see Krishna playing a flute in the midst of the battlefield. Leaving behind the place where Lord Krishna grew up, Mathura, he entered politics and was gifted a conch and a Sudarshan chakra (both symbolic of the duties he would do in the near future which were assigned to him by the Almighty) and gave up playing the flute. Krishna would play the flute only so as to fulfill his duties as a gwala/shepherd. (It is said that playing classical music can yield good results, milk in this case). Another letdown is the animation. It looks amateurish and could have been better. 3D does the film no good.
With apt casting, wonderful story-telling skills and ample edutainment, the film is a must-watch for children and for the adults who are yet to acquaint themselves with the epic tale of Mahabharata.