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Delhi Safari has great animation, especially some of the 3D bits, even if it is way behind in some areas. But writing in terms of both plot and dialogue are huge let downs.
Delhi Safari's animation is by far the most superior I've seen in Hindi films. But, at it's heart it is a true-blue Bollywood film, where people are convinced to go against their will using songs. And if there aren't people to be convinced, characters can still break into song. The writing gets random even when there are no songs.
Animals from a jungle set out to teach humans a bit of humanity. It looks like writer/director Nikhil Advani wasn't convinced that this basic one-line plot wouldn't convert into a feature length film. Almost an hour of Delhi Safari is a road film where the animals travel from Mumbai to Delhi to talk to government officials about displacement from their jungle.
The road film part of Delhi Safari then becomes a series of detours into either songs or endless bickering between Bajrang, a monkey (Govinda) and Alex, a parrot (Akshaye Khanna). Govinda is his typical loud self. Akshaye Khanna's the only voice which seems to be moderated to fit the animation genre. And Boman Irani as Bagga, the bear at times does that. The rest of the cast sound exactly like themselves and that is more distracting than entertaining or engaging, especially Urmila Matondkar as Begum, a cheetah.
I'm not sure we can even blame the voice artists because they are barely given dialogue that is specific to animals. The story is set with animals, but they make pop-culture references with a ton of inspiration from Lion Kingand know way too much about human world. And it's not like their situation had any dearth of making animals behave like animals would. If there is any doubt left, it is wiped out with Alex's preachy monologue.
Fortunately, the detailing in the animation of the main characters' bodies are really done well. The hair and the animals' movements are created with great attention. 3D too is used really well with stones and dust being thrown our way in the opening sequence. Another sequence where a roller coaster effect has been created is great too. And there are others where the opportunity feels untapped like the flamingo dance or the hyena joint. Other than that, the background, the lip movements while dialogue delivery and in general creativity in developing an atmosphere have a long way to go.
Another question that lingers is who is the target audience. Like I suspected, the story line and dialogue seems to be directed towards adults who can relate to the references (including a scene that implies the character is a casting couch) but the rest of the execution looks like it is geared towards kids.
Yet, this is a step in the right direction as far as animation, especially 3D animation go in Hindi films. And for that it needs to be encouraged. If only, they didn't take the writing department for granted, I could have done so with a little more heart.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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