Director: Shilpa Ranade
Voices of: Manish Bhawan, Shailendra Pande, Rajeev Raj
Rating: Three Stars
Once upon a time, in the kingdoms of Hundi and Shundi, lived two besure musicians. The raucous sounds they produce get them thrown out on their ear. How the two bump into a magical creature which grants them four boons, and what happens next, forms the bulk of the 100-minute animated feature Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya, directed by Shilpa Ranade.
Satyajit Ray based his classic Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne on his grandfather Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury’s story. Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya takes the spirit of Ray’s movie and detailing from the tale, and gives us a tidy little movie about several big things: how love can trump hate, how the meek can conquer, and how music unites us all.
I found myself humming along. Both the background music and the songs — clearly, a film about musicians will have lots of songs, and appropriately, both Goopi and Bagha use their skills to the hilt — are superb. And it takes a while to get used to the stylised figures of the characters — their stitched-up noses, stick-like limbs, rounded eyes. Once your eye settles, you can see how each character differs from the other.
The production design is quite remarkable: I think I spotted an ajrakh sari on a character. The colours and costumes are in synch with the look of the film, all jewel-like and glowing. My only minor grouse was with some of the voicing, which is not-speaking-to-each-other as much as sing-song and declaiming. As well as some flatness: the film could have been springier.
The rest of it is fun and games.