Arjun: The Warrior Prince, a failed promise

Arjun: The Warrior Prince, a failed promise

Produced by UTV Motion Pictures and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the movie fails to distinguish itself clearly from the past mediocre movies made in the kids and animation genre.

Arjun: The Warrior Prince, is the story of the Pandava prince Arjun, one of the best archers from the Indian epic Mahabharata, told in an ambitious animated story. It shows an insecure Arjun turning into a brave and confident warrior prince following the teachings of his guru Dronacharya, mother Kunti, and Lord Krishna.

Recounted by a young helper woman to an adolescent boy, the narrative has scenes which stand out and need special mention. For instance, the swayamvar scene strays from the actual story, but is spectacular with Arjun diving into the pond with his bow and arrow shooting the arrow from the bottom of the pond to hit a live gold-coloured fish. This is the scene where you cheer for the charming, long haired prince.

Directed by debutante Arnab Chaudhuri, the movie sensibly stays away from depicting the Mahabharata war as it would have taken the focus away from Arjun. Still, there are plenty of action scenes ranging from war scenes to martial arts. The scene in which scores of horses gallop towards Dronacharya's school is cinematographed beautifully, though it bears a fleeting semblance to the horse race in Benhur.

The movie has used the style of Anime and Manga, both of which are Japanese styles of animation. Ila Arun and K.K. Raina's theatre troupe - the people behind the voiceovers - bring a freshness to the film's audio. The sound design is top notch.

Music by Vishal Shekhar duo has used the usual template for epic and animation movies. Even the background music leaves a lot to be desired in terms of originality or experimentation.

There are a lot of scenes where one feels the potential for drama was much more and the makers failed to take that chance. For instance, the scene of playing dice at Indraprastha is completely devoid of any emotion and is rushed through.

Since the story has not deviated from the epic, the chances of surprising the viewer are limited. Still, the film could have been made riveting by making it more dramatic and edge-of-the-seat screenplay. The action choreography towards the end is not that well executed.

The film's makers seem to be confused as to whom they were catering. Is it to kids, teenagers or the grown-ups? Many of the inspirational values imbibed in the film are in your face rather than putting it mildly through anecdotes. For the uninitiated, it takes a while to understand the story. And that takes away the simplicity in a way.

Produced by UTV Motion Pictures, one of the biggest production houses of the country, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the movie fails to distinguish itself clearly from the past mediocre movies made in the kids and animation genre.

Overall, debutante Chaudhuri has done a good job, just that this movie had much more potential. Thankfully the movie is in 2D and is a good watch playing for less than two hours. The film never drags with the story moving pretty fast.

The identity of the woman who is telling the story to the boy is revealed in the end. But even that twist became the biggest disappointment for me in the whole film. I will not be able to reveal that without giving spoilers.

Rating - Watchable