Critic's Rating: 17/5
Tuesday 15 April 2003
Suraj Balajee, S.P. Balasubrahmaniam
Navodaya``s Chota Jadugar (dubbed; 3-D) is a children``s fantasy film. A small kid, grandson of a magician, is forcibly taken to America by his dad but the child pines for his grandpa in India. He misses him so much that in sheer frustration and out of boredom, he runs away from his home. He befriends a little dog and three other kids and, together, they have a lot of fun on the streets. The magician kid also earns money for the group by holding magic shows on the roadside. One day, on being informed that the child has run away from home, his grandfather comes to America in search of him. Meanwhile, two crooks kidnap the child and his entire group and demand ransom from his family. How the magician kid, instructed by his grandpa, fights the crooks with the help of magic tricks, forms the climax.
The film is a kiddies`` movie but the unfortunate part is that the story is kiddish. Logic and continuity have no place in the drama, which, therefore, becomes a mere assemblage of events. Even the performances are below average. Unlike this film, the first Indian 3-D film, Chhota Chetan, had an interesting storyline which held the attention of the viewers. Like the story and screenplay, the dialogue of Chota Jadugar are also ordinary. Some 3-D effects are definitely good and would appeal especially to that generation of kids which has never seen a 3-D film earlier.
Suraj Balajee, as the magician kid, is quite good. S.P. Balasubrahmaniam, as his grandfather, is lifeless. Trilok Malik has no scope and does an average job. Pooja Kumar passems muster. Justin Melvin, Julian Carey, Julia Rusatski, Al Dioro, Owen Burke, Andrea Alton, Ruth and Eric Lindht fit the bill.
Direction (Jose Punnoose) is no better than the lacklustre script. Camerawork (Ashwini Kaul) and 3-D effects are excellent. Sharath``s music is poor. The competition song, though well-worded, will not be followed by kids because of the speed at which it has been rendered. Art direction (Sabu Cyril) is very good. Dubbing is proper.
On the whole, Chota Jadugar has some appeal for one section of the kid audience only. Devoid of a proper story (which is the backbone of a film, whether 2-D or 3-D), it would have to rely on just the three-dimensional effect to lure the audience. The film could``ve done well at reduced rates but the additional charges for 3-D spectacles will actually limit its prospects. It needs to be released at cinemas with low admission rates rather than at multiplexes, to cover a larger spectrum of the kid-audience. School vacations are an advantage. It has chances to score somewhat in Bombay only.
RATING : 2 out of 10