Mayank Shekhar's review: Zokkomon

By Hindustan Times

Director: Satyajit Bhatkal
Actors: Darsheel Safary, Anupam Kher
Rating: **

Opinions are like Anupam Kher. Every film has one. This one has two, Anupam Khers that is. One’s a shrewd education Mafiosi in a village, who diverts government funds for labs, library, benches into his personal account. He’s also dumped his li’l nephew to rot in the city. The boy makes an adult friend on the city’s streets, survives the urban wrath, finds his way back home.

The other Anupam Kher is a mysterious sort of figure, soaked in prosthetics, a supposed scientist, whose village lab emits laser lights. He turns the said little boy into a flying ‘Zokkomon’, concocting his voice to sound like Amitabh Bachchan’s from Agneepath. This lead character appears in the second half of the film, which is a bit too late for a super hero flick by his name.

Any story, let alone one for kids, I suppose, deserves an emotional connect. Establishing relationships may help. Explanations sure do as well. It’s hard to tell why this wily uncle wants to kills off his nephew, or how the adult friend suddenly besots this little boy. It’s harder still to figure how this Zokkomon technologically came into being. Given this is apparently a movie about merits of science over superstitions.

If it weren’t for the feeble impact, this could seem an Aamir Khan production: the girl’s from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (Manjari Fadnis); the wonder kid (Darsheel Safary) from Taare Zameen Par; the director had helmed a fine documentary on the making of Lagaan. The missing link is the subject they’ve collectively chosen to film.

Little boy Zokkomon gets into a freefall, doesn’t break any bones, lies unconscious in bed, fighting for his life. Mass hysteria gets generated over him. Villagers go berserk. Attempting this kind of sudden adulation for a cartoon, animation or super-hero character, without any basis in literature (Chacha Chaudhary / Sabu etc), television series (Spiderman, for my generation) or video game franchise (Pokemon), is sheer wishful thinking.

As Shekhar Kapur once famously said, “In future sequels, Sony will have to ensure that when Spiderman takes his mask off, he is either Indian or Chinese. Or they will lose out on 75 per cent of their market.” This is a Disney movie. The future is yet to come. This one's a shaky, false start at best, or nonetheless.

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