An incomprehensible voice-over by Sanjay Dutt in the opening sequence of Toonpur Ka Superhero is meant to introduce us to the key characters of this dull live action-meets-animation film. Ajay Devgan is a movie-star named Aditya who is kidnapped and transported into the cartoon world, where he must help the good toons, or the Devtoons, overthrow the evil ones, called the Toonasurs. Aditya, for his part, sees this as an opportunity to win over his own son, who is unimpressed by the fact that his father needs a stunt double to perform those daring action scenes in his films.

Directed by Kireet Khurana, Toonpur Ka Superhero suffers on account of its embarrassing lack of imagination. Virtually every single animated character is a stereotype, including the Gujarati housewife Big Ben, a music-obsessed fat-guy named Gappi, a Hindi movie-crazy sardar boy named Bolly, and the villain’s voluptuous moll Monica. The film’s humour too is of pedestrian standards, not very different from Devgan’s own Golmaal comedies.

Despite the occasionally impressive animation, Toonpur Ka Superhero is an ordeal to sit through because it has neither the visual wizardry nor the engaging storytelling that recent films like How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 have allowed us to embrace. Even if our local animation films can’t look as slick as their American counterparts, there’s no excuse for sloppy writing and singularly unimpressive characters.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Kireet Khurana’s Toonpur Ka Superhero. It’s a solid waste of time, and I won’t insist that you subject your kids to this!

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