Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Aladin: The magic fades away
The protagonist is Aladin Chatterjee, an unassuming young man (Riteish Deshmukh), who is orphaned at a young age.
His name is his nemesis as he is constantly being bullied into rubbing lamps by his friends. In the course of time Aladin falls in love with Jasmine, the college beauty, but is too shy to take the romance any further.
All that changes when he is given a lamp as a birthday gift. This lamp is indeed magic and a genie appears when he rubs it.
Unlike the lore of Baghdad, Aladin Chatterjee’s genie is ‘Genius’ (Amitabh Bachchan) and calls the master of the lamp “bro”.
Genius tells Aladin that he can grant him three wishes but things have to move quickly because he is close to retirement.
In the meanwhile the ‘Ringmaster’ (Sanjay Dutt) is looking for the lamp. So far so good.
Ghosh decides to concentrate on the romance of Jasmine and Aladin and inserts songs and dream sequences that have no bearing on the narration.
The special effects in the film provide the backbone to what could have been a thrilling, magical ride, but Ghosh loses control mid way and delays the confrontation and resolution for so long that you lose interest.
The film wavers in the second half and some gaping holes in the script are exposed.
I watched the film with children and while most of them enjoyed the first half, their restlessness was telling during the second.
Of the cast, Deshmukh impresses but newcomer Jacqueline Fernandes does not. Amitabh Bachchan as Genius is delightful for the most part but Sanjay Dutt doesn’t quite manage to put fear in your heart as the villain.
This could have been quite a magical ride, but ultimately it turns out to be rather unbearable.