Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Arjun – The Warrior Prince: Hit-and-miss
No other tale is as familiar to me as the Mahabharat. Whether it was stories heard in my childhood, animated books that were gifted, or watching B. R. Chopra’s television series over Sunday breakfast, this epic is ingrained in the psyche.
Which is why, when a movie about Arjun comes along, one looks forward to the opportunity to relive some of those stories. Directed by Arnab Chaudhuri, “Arjun – The Warrior Prince” tells the story of the Mahabharat from the point of view of Arjun, the third of the Pandava brothers.
The film is told largely in flashback, and begins with the “eye of the bird” story — where Arjun tells his tutor Dronacharya that he can only see the eye of the bird he is to shoot, while his brothers and cousins describe the trees around and the colour of the bird’s feathers.
The film establishes Arjun’s sense of purpose and his skills even before the titles, but then seems to run out of things to say. The plot meanders along, and skips several important events in Arjun’s life, including Draupadi’s disrobing scene, and his relationship with Lord Krishna.
As a result, “Arjun – The Warrior Prince” appears disjointed, and given that this is a familiar story, one may feel a bit cheated.
The animation in the film is good, but certainly not at par with Disney films internationally, which is made even more obvious by the promo of the new Pixar film “Brave” screened just before the film.
Some scenes, such as the one in which Arjun aims for the eye of a fish by looking at its reflection in the water are well done.
As audiences, we are inclined to think that animation means “cartoon films” and automatically assume they are films for children. That is not always so. The language in “Arjun” is archaic and uses long-winded Hindi words, which children will be at a loss to understand.
As it stands, “Arjun – The Warrior Prince” is a decent effort, one that could have been made tighter with better direction and a less disjointed script.