Aamir Khan has a competition and it is in the form of the current super star Akshay Kumar who is going to vie for the eyeballs, more so of the children with the animation film JUMBO which is going to hit the silver screen on the eve of Christmas. It also is a fortuitous happening as Akshay's fatherinlaw Rajesh Khanna had a great hit with a film about elephants in the form of HAATHI MERE SAATHI, which was a roaring success owing to the magic that it could create among the children.
JUMBO would be one of the first films, which are not an English film, but a film that has been made in Thai language but is going to be dubbed in Hindi and who better than an Akshay Kumar to play the role of a Jumbo and Lara Dutta would be the female voice over. JUMBO is a super duper hit film in Thai language probably owing to the fact that elephants are revered in Thailand. No wonder that every year Thailand produces one film or the other with elephants as the theme, but it has also come out with an animation film on elephants after a long time, and the magic that it has been able to create with the audience would have been the catalytic factor in dubbing it in Hindi.
What a smart move it is, as without an investment in terms of shooting, but roping on the lead players to do the voice over, and pitching it against one of the most expected films of the year GHAJINI, it should be able to create a vexatious position in the households of the country. It would be on account of the fact that while the children would like to view JUMBO, while parents may like to prefer GHAJINI, and this is what Percept Pictures would be aiming at, when it is releasing JUMBO the same day GHAJINI would try to storm the box office.
If one were to do a rewind the memory and find out when was the last time that elephant as a main actor was a part of the film, it would be difficult to define the time zone. After HAATHI MERE SAATHI, MAA was another film where elephants had a major role. It was followed by Hemant Birje starrer TARZAN, and then K.C. Bokadia used the elephants in number of films during his hey days. But in K.C. Bokadia's films elephants were a part of the narrative and not the main characters in the narrative, so the children were not able to associate with these films.
JUMBO because of this reason only should be able to set the hearts of the children flutter, and set the box office on fire. For Akshay Kumar it could be a perfect encore to sign off for 2008, and further accentuate and enhance his outreach.