The Lion King is back to entertain kids and more than them, it’s back for the parents who still cherish the memory of watching the original. 25 years ago, they laughed with Timon and Pumba and embraced Hakuna Matata with full gusto but talk about King Mufasa and they all remember bawling on his death scene.
So, when news emerged that The Lion King is also releasing in Hindi, it fascinated us. To add to that, when you heard that Shah Rukh Khan will be voicing Mufasa, it drew us in. The makers then dropped the big news that SRK’s son Aryan Khan will voice Simba. The teaser made us believe that the new King of Pride Lands sounds just like his father and we were in.
But things were quite different in the theater. Why?
Because the voice that you heard in the teaser is not exactly what you hear in the movie. Grown-up Simba takes over the dialogues after the “Hakuna Matata” song, which is half-way into the film and as soon as you hear the first few dialogues, you are left bewildered. The theatre I was in had a few people looking at each other with the ‘Is this the same voice that we heard in the trailer?’ expression.
Aryan Khan on occasion sounds like Shah Rukh Khan but mostly it feels like a rushed job. Nala sounds like a poised tigress who has complete command over her speech and it’s in these scenes that Aryan’s dialogue delivery falls flat.
— Disney India (@DisneyIndia) June 17, 2019
His scenes with Timon and Pumba further show his inexpertise. Timon has been voiced by Shreyas Talpade and Pumba, by Sanjay Mishra, and their banter is what provides the maximum laughs. Their jokes are so on point that you applaud the Hindi dialogue writer. But here too, Aryan’s Simba doesn’t shine.
As the film reaches its end and we are all ready for that penultimate sequence where Simba faces off against Scar, you have Aryan going against Ashish Vidyarthi. Ashish’s Scar is menacing, cruel and just what you thought it would be but Simba’s voice lacks the heroism.
— Disney India (@DisneyIndia) June 28, 2019
We had heard Aryan Khan in Incredibles 2 but back then, he was still a kid. So, when we heard him in that eyebrow-raising teaser of The Lion King, it was a father-son moment for the audience as well. However, it doesn’t translate as well in the movie.
For Disney, this was a great way to sell their movie to a large Indian audience, but this has turned out to be another case of packaging being better than the product.