Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka director: Rajiv Chilaka
Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka rating: Three stars
The latest in the Chhota Bheem series of animation films takes our brave young lad into China, there to confront kung fu warriors, wise old coots, and an evil fellow who wants to rule the world with the help of a magical tool which belongs to a benevolent flying dragon.
Those familiar with the insanely popular Chhota Bheem character know that the young lad and his pals—Chutki, Raju, Kalia, Dholu, Bholu, Jaggu, all denizens of Dholakpur, are good friends, who fall in and out of trouble, and spread non-stop enjoyment amongst their fans while they are at it.
What struck me about this newest addition to the adventures of little Bheem is the surprisingly terrific quality of the animation: except for a flash or two which harks back to the bad old days of clunkiness, this is world class.
A martial arts contest leads Bheem and co to show up in China, and just as the Indian boy is making short shrift of his wily Chinese rivals, the hooded, sinister-looking Zuhu takes off with Princess Kia.
The rest of the proceedings is spent with the gang, and a rag-tag team of mercenaries, in hot pursuit of abductor, who lives in a castle perched high on icy mountains. They race against time, brushing aside threats from sundry creatures of the wild: will they be able to save her, with a little bit of help from the humble Indian sweet, the ladoo?
The plot references Lord Of The Rings, The Karate Kid, and, of course, Kung Fu Panda (even though I caught sight of barely one of those cute animals), and a whole host of movies. But Chhota Bheem is also its own film, and much of it is quite delightful.
Just a couple of problems: the conversation between the characters is still quite declamatory, not everyday-chatty, a left-over of the old style of ‘desi’ animation. Also, it is way longer than it needs to be: a bit of judicious pruning may make this an even better experience.
Meanwhile, have a ladoo or two, and enjoy the fun and games.