Film: The Lion King (Hindi)
Artist/voiceovers: Shah Rukh Khan, Aryan Khan, Shreyas Talpade, Sanjay Mishra, Ashish Vidyarthi, Asrani, Shernaz Patel, Achint Kaur and Neha Gargava.
Viewer ratings: 4 stars
Critics ratings: 3.5 stars
It was in 1994 when The Lion King released and got generations hooked to the power of storytelling. The attachment with Simba, the admiration for Mufasa and the dislike for Scar - it's the emotions that made The Lion King what it was. 25 years on, Jon Favreau has taken it upon himself and recreated the Disney classic.
The beauty of it is its stunning photorealistic computer animation. Everything feels extremely real - from the characters to the jungle. Whether it's a spider spinning its web or ants displaying teamwork - even the smallest of details have been taken care of. Kudos to the technology behind it all, and credit to the makers for utilising it to produce a visually stunning masterpiece of which every scene is a treat to watch.
The makers have stayed true to the word remake and picked up the story as it was in the original. Mufasa, the ruling righteous king of the jungle loses his life in an accident which has been conspired by his sinful brother Scar along with a group of hyenas. Mufasa's cub, Simba, is the rightful heir to the throne, but Scar attempts to kill him too.
Thankfully, he escapes and begins a new life at some other place with Timon and Pumba. Years after the tragedy, the news of Simba being alive reaches his home, and now he's set to avenge his father's death and free his fellow animals from the evil rule of Scar and hyenas who have come to rule after killing Mufasa.
For anyone who has watched the original, they'd remember how devastating Mufasa's death was. Perhaps, one of the greatest cinematic moments in history. The makers, however, fail to recreate the heightened emotion this time. They have kept the big plot points, but this time, they don't truly have a heart and soul of their own. For instance, even when Scar is dethroned, attacked to death and Simba takes over, the emotions are nothing compared to what the original film rendered.
Shah Rukh Khan, the 'king' of Bollywood, has stepped to voice Mufasa, and his son Aryan Khan is the one voicing Simba. From real-life to reel, the father-son duo delivers a pack when together, meaning the scenes between Mufasa and Simba are endearing.
Shernaz Patel as Sarabi, Neha Gargava as Nala and Achint Kaur as Shenzi do justice to their respective parts. But three actors, who have truly elevated their characters with their voice, modulation and delivery are Shreyas Talpade (Timon), Sanjay Mishra (Pumbaa) and Asrani's (Zuzu). Timon and Pumbaa's camaraderie (undying friendship) seems the most authentic and it iss the reprise that shells out several moments of genuine laughter throughout the film's run time. The two, perhaps, are true stars of the Hindi version of Lion King.
For a film riding on nostalgia, The Lion King serves emotions, but those that have more to do with the marvel for how far the technology has come. While the fine computer animation is to be credited it for, one can also ponder over if that's something that restricts the characters' emotions. For the pursuit of realism, it seems the makers have journeyed away from the idea of characters emoting themselves in a stylized way, which was one of the main strengths of the original.
Also, the more real-life looking look and feel of the animals makes them devoid of the distinguishing features that the original boasts of. Like, this Scar doesn't quite look like its exalted self.
For the ones, who have watched the original helmed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, don't go with too many expectations on the emotional front. And for the ones, who haven't, there's nothing to lose here.
Overall, if you are a Disney movie fan then you should definitely go for it.