Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan is a fun romp

Yagya Bhasin and Aashriya Mishra in Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan. Photo: Universal Communications

When you take a well-known animation character and remake his tried-and-tested animation film as a live action movie, you expect innovation.

Make no mistake: there are lavish resources spent on this movie in every technical department. The filmmakers have aimed at a world-class product and indulged in decent CG, VFX and more to match for a film intended primarily for children. But, as with adults, the content must match. And happily, it does, but for its overlong duration that could have been trimmed.

The story is basic, culled from a now-iconic Indian comic book character, the super-strong Chhota Bheem. He must now battle the despotic snake, Damyaan, whose sidekicks, Skandhi (Makrand Deshpande) and Takshika (Navneet Kaur Dhillon) employ devious means to free him from where Damyaan has been trapped underground 1000 years ago by the ingenious magician, Guru Shambhu (Anupam Kher).

Damyaan’s cohorts deceive the simple-minded Raja Indra Varma (Sanjay Bishnoi), king of Dholakpur, the town in which Chhota Bheem lives, into making both Bheem and him be the cause of Damyaan’s release.

Damyaan is now free and set to achieve his nefarious ends—converting every human being into a snake and thus ruling the world, just as he had held sway on Sonapur, a golden town, 1000 years back.

Chhota Bheem and his trusted group of companions thus have to travel in time to prevent Damyaan’s attempts at achieving immortality, which he can by reading a magic book. The children also meet Guru Shambhu and no prizes for guessing that Damyaan will be vanquished and the curse lifted.

The simple tale is ingenious and is loaded with lots of cinematic ‘goodies’ that will attract and entice kids—witty dialogues, comic as well as thrilling and emotional sequences, lots of clap-worthy (for kids) action, great visuals and more, all in the popular Chhota Bheem canon.

What does not work for the film is its inordinate length: a crisp under-two hours would have made it a much more engaging watch than it is.

Yagya Bhasin, Aashriya Mishra and Anupam Kher in Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan. Photo: Universal Communciations

Rajiv Chilaka’s direction is simple, non-gimmicky and ideal for such a movie. He extracts great performances from all his cast of kids. Yagya Bhasin is in form as Chhota Bheem, and one can make out that his execution of action (whether with VFX help or not) has him not only follow instructions to the hilt but add his own substantial bit to the character. Aashriya Mishra as Chutki, Kabir Sajid as Kalia, Advik Jaiswal as Raju and the twins Divyam Dawar and Daivik Dawar as Dholu and Bholu are all delightful naturals.

The adults are led by Anupam Kher, clearly enjoying himself to the hilt as Guru Shambhu. This also is the case with Makrand Deshpande as the conniving Skandhi: this veteran actor, who can be as easily awesome as camp and totally hammy, goes the full hog here. Sanjay Bishnoi as Raja Indra Varma is alright. The three ladies in important roles, Navneet, Surbhi Tiwari as Mausi and co-producer Medha Chilaka as Bheem’s mother are adequate.

Raghav Sachar’s music and score go well with the film’s needs, and the theme song, Digi digi dum dum echoes in one’s mind. Jam jam jamboora, the magic anthem, is also pleasant and well-filmed. Raghav also does the voiceover for Damyaan and that’s neatly done too. Junaid Siddiqui’s editing, Suryaa’s camerawork and the CG and VFX department are also very effective.

The film would have worked far better had it been 30 minutes shorter, with some sequences like the initial wrestling sequences edited out and replaced by something else to introduce viewers to Chhota Bheem’s prowess, but do take the child in you and the actual children in your family to watch this one.

Green Gold Animation presents Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan   Produced by: Rajiv Chilaka & Medha Chilaka  Directed by: Rajiv Chilaka  Written by: Niraj Vikram & Sridisha  Music: Raghav Sachar  Starring: Anupam Kher, Makrand Deshpande, Yagya Bhasin, Aashriya Mishra, Kabir Sajid, Divyam Dawar, Daivik Dawar, Swarna Pandey, Advik Jaiswal, Surbhi Tiwari, Medha Chilaka, Navneet Kaur Dhillon, Sanjay Bishnoi, Chandrashekhar Dutta & others




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