I enjoy a good fantasy film every once in a while, so when my sis came over last night to try my new butter chicken recipe (which turned out not too bad) and a movie, we decided what better way to end the day than with some filmi fantasy goodness. I'd read a couple of reviews on this, some good, mostly bad, so I didn't really know what to expect. I guess I will have to go against the masses and say that I actually really enjoyed this one, silliness and all.

Of course it's a tale we've probably all heard before. Even I am reading the stories of Aladdin and his magic lamp to my own children, but I think it's always fun to try and re-tell things, and director Sujoy Ghosh (who has also written and produced this film) gives his own spin on the classic fairytale. Aladin, having been born to adventurous parents, is orphaned early in life. He grows up in the shadow of his namesake continually trying to evade the town bully, Kasim, until one day he is given a magical lamp complete with genie by Jasmine, the new girl in town (who, incidentally, is the object of Aladin's affections). Our subplot comes in the form of the the character Ringmaster, along with his merry band of sideshow freaks, who is on the look out for the lamp in order to carry out a sinister plan to become all powerful.

Performance wise, I enjoyed nearly everyone. Amitabh Bachchan, with his powerful screen presence was enigmatically wonderful as Genius the genie. I dig his look and his attitude in the film too. Just because you age doesn't mean you have to act old. Plus, I think that if you have as many movies under your belt as this man does, and you're still acting, you deserve to do something just completely fun every once in a while. Right on Amitabh! Subsequently, I thought Sanjay Dutt's Ringmaster was wonderfully sinister. You can make out he is having a ball playing the fantasy villain, and the showdown during the story's climax is a definite highlight. Also, on a slightly unrelated note, if you have an unnatural fear of clowns, as I do, be warned. One of Ringmaster's crew is a very effectively creepy sort of clown that made me cringe each time he was on screen. YUCK!

I've not seen Riteish Deshmukh in anything other than Mast Kalandar from the movie Heyy Babyy, so my expectations of him were low. That being said, I actually enjoyed watching him in a full movie. He brought the right amount of sympathy to his character to the point where I wanted good things to come him. As his and Genius' friendship evolve, you see him gradually come out of his shell until he gets to play the hero role in a completely believable fashion. Newcomer Jacqueline Fernandez has good presence, but doesn't have much to do aside from look pretty. A little side note: it took me probably 3/4 of the movie to realize the Jasmine reference. Duh!

Visually, Sujoy Ghosh has created a spectacular film. I don't think I've seen a Hindi film yet, CGI or otherwise, that was so breathtakingly grand as the fictitious town of Khwaish, and it immediately brought me back to Lord of the Rings. The special effects, from the wafting genie smoke to the cliff free fall are really well done. Top marks for art direction!

I had no expectations for the music in this one. I get most of my music from iTunes, but I think that I need to find a better site to listen to music when it's released (if anyone has suggestions, I'd gladly take them). iTunes only gives you something like 30 seconds of a piece of music to listen to, which is not enough to decided if a song is for you or not, which is why the only song that made my ipod was You May Be. Upon hearing the songs in context and then again on another website, I think that the music does indeed hold some appeal. Firstly the numbers are mostly upbeat peppy songs that will have at least one toe tapping, but secondly, you have to give Amitabh his due credit for pulling off his parts in Ore Saawariya and Genie Rap.

So, overall, a good fun film. And exactly what I was looking to watch last night.

11 Response to "Aladin"

  1. Anonymous Says:
    January 23, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    So glad to read a review on this that seems to identify with my tastes. I was wondering whether or not I should watch this, so just put it on my list with a 'maybe' sort of dashed on it. Will move it up to a higher priority now. =)

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Tady Rox! says:
    January 23, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    I totally agree...after hearing such horrible reviews i decided to stay away but my friend bought the film and let me borrow it..i felt guilty for actually liking it..but now i feel a little better...I remember my tweet after watching this film .... "after watching this movie I've realized that BigB should nvr b allowed 2 say Hotties & Shorties...EVER AGAIN!!" times

  3. Darshit says:
    January 24, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    so glad you liked this one. indeed this is the first hindi movie where CGI is never over the top. also all characters are well written. And music too holds your attention.

  4. shell says:
    January 24, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    rhilex - I can't say for certain, but I think you would like this one. I think most people's negative comments were about a "wafer thin" story, but I didn't see that. Genie, wishes, romantic subplot, villain subplot. What more do you need? The only thing that didn't really make sense to me was a bit about a comet, but that was it. Do tell me what you think after you watch it.

    Tady Rox! - Well, I don't understand why everyone seemed to hate it so much. It was totally fun to watch Amitabh (and he does say he's a teenager in the film!), but I totally see what you're saying! lol. I seem to like so many films that the masses don't, and that's okay with me. Looks like I'm not totally alone.

    Darshit - Yes. An overall entertaining film in every department. I feel a little bad that I didn't like the music as much as I thought I should, but it's kind of grown on me since the film.

  5. Filmi Girl says:
    January 25, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Clearly you missed my obsessive championing of this one last year when it came out... LOL!

    It was one of my top five of 2009. :)

  6. shell says:
    January 25, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Clearly. Glad to know I'm not alone!

  7. theBollywoodFan says:
    January 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Shell! I've only skimmed through this review, but your thoughts on the CGI alone warrant seeing this. How would you rate this v Bhoothnath? (I enjoyed the latter.)

    As for music sources, try the music section at, which has full (and of course, perfectly legal) streams of most of the new (and popular) soundtracks.


  8. shell says:
    January 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    From what I remember, I would put the CGI above that of Bhoothnath for the most part (though some of the special effects are probably close in quality). The story, however, is pure simple folklore fun (no melodrama really)..

    Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. I started buying certain albums on line, but sometimes the whole album isn't worth it, so it's nice to be able to just get songs.

    Anyway, try Aladin. I think you'll like it. It's totally enjoyable!!!

  9. Jules says:
    January 27, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    i really liked this film, thought it was light and adorably cute... and fun... and OMG, Ami Bachy... you hot hot sexy man!!!

  10. shell says:
    January 28, 2010 at 6:55 AM

    LOL! You are so funny with your Nishabd crush! This movie = fun! I would totally watch it again too.

  11. Jules says:
    January 28, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    LMAO!! NiSHABD CRUSH!!! You're hilarious!!! True, but hilarious!