Films | Delhi Safari – Movie Review

Delhi Safari – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on October 19, 2012 | No Comments

FILM – Delhi Safari
PRODUCER – Anupama Patil, Kishor Patil
DIRECTOR – Nikhil Advani
WRITER – Girish Dhamija, Suresh Nair
CAST – Akshaye Khanna, Govinda, Suniel Shetty, Boman Irani, Urmila Matondkar
MUSIC – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Among the abundance of religious theme-based animation films comes a film that has a pertinent environmental concern as its theme. ‘Delhi Safari’, an animal kingdom romp is a tale of a few four legged creatures out to save their homes under threat from human beings. The question at the heart of their plea is – why has man become the most dangerous animal on earth?

Deforestation, a reckless beast among us we simply refuse to acknowledge, is fast destroying the abodes of animals and a bunch of them decide to take up arms against it. This bunch is headed by Begum, a tigress (voice – Urmila Matondkar) who has lost her husband Sultan to the ruthlessness of humans and isn’t ready to lose more. She guides a motley group comprising of Bagga, a bear (Boman Irani), Bajrangi, a monkey (Govinda), Alex, parrot (Akshaye Khanna) and her little kid Yuvi (Swini Khara) all the way to Delhi, to meet ministers who can help avert further destruction of nature. They encounter several obstacles on the way but wasn’t the path to freedom always a tough one?

In an evenly paced and dramatic tone, director Nikhil Advani takes us on a journey that not only has drama but life lessons, friendships, action and some frolic. The five travel through difficult terrains, face dangers and brainstorm their way to their final destination in what is an adventure of its own. It is with a fine imagination that the creative team behind the film conjure up visuals and sequences that keep us engaged. Salivating, evil hyenas, shape-shifting bee armies and hearty Gujarati-speaking flamingos combine to bring a universal as well as a local aura to the journey.

Unlike stock characters of a genre-based story, Delhi Safari creates solid characters with a purpose beyond merely moving the story forward. So if Bajrangi is a rogue monkey and Alex a humanised parrot who learn a few lessons about friendships and loyalty on the way, so do we. We are moved by Begum’s stoic strength and endeared by Bagga’s feel-good pomposity. The film never leaps but lies low and does itself disservice but that is the scale on which it has been mounted. Hence, animation isn’t pleasurable yet it is far more serviceable in its detail than much of the tripe we see. The music is staid but the humour manages to keep up the energy. The dialogues are sharp and the voice-over cast effortlessly bring the emotions alive. Urmila’s stern Begum, Boman Irani’s merry Bagga and Suneil Shetty’s wise Sultan bring adequate credibility to their characters. But it is Govinda’s delightfully over-the-top monkey and Akshaye Khanna’s dude-like parrot that really steal the show.

Some of the most enduring animation films worldwide (mostly those from the stables of Dreamworks and Pixar) have had a strong heart beating at its centre. It has had a universal language and is built on lasting values that inform lives. Delhi Safari takes a leaf out of that canon and attempts to create something similar. It falls short of a larger vision and canvas but within its constraints it remains watchable, simply for the loyalty it shows to good, old story-telling. This is a fare for kids and adults alike.


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