Something about the finesse in the promos, which began showing almost six months ago, told me that this film would rescue the Yash Raj banner. And this is something I committed myself to going on record in print in the Financial Chronicle (October 3, 2008) issue. It's scary today to predict the fate of a film based on promos alone. But there was something about the characterisation in this animated film that stood out. So, I guess, I was not wrong. ROADSIDE ROMEO does live up to the finesse in its promos.
In association with Walt Disney, this is the first animated film from the Yash Raj banner.
Debutant director Jugal Hansraj has dished out a quality product worth spending our bucks on. The story is simple, but the characterisation is elaborate, with due pains taken to suit the voice of the animals (mainly dogs) to different actors. Be it the voice of Saif Ali Khan for Romeo, Javed Jafferi for Charlie Anna, Vrajesh Hirjee for Guru, Suresh Menon for Interval, Kiku Sharda for Hero English, Tanaaz Irani for Mini or Kareena Kapoor for Laila. Their voices and its modulation are spot on that gives the film a rich feel. The music and the sets too, are vibrant.
Romeo is a dog who once lived in luxurious surroundings. Unfortunately, for him, his owners decide to migrate to London and he is left at the mercy of the servant of the house, who dumps him on the street. Left to fend for himself, he is soon cornered by the local 'goons' who tell him that this is their 'domain'. Poor Romeo does not know the street lingo and is at a loss for words at first, but then turns his charm around to win these very strays as his close pals. Together, they set up a business. Everything goes on fine with a big queue outside their salon.
Then comes Charlie Anna's chamcha to collect hafta and business goes for a toss. Charlie Anna is the 'Don' to who every dog has to pay protection money in the form of bones! Here again Romeo's wit and presence of mind saves the day for him and his buddies who are being beaten by Charlie's Angels!
In walks, Laila and Romeo is in love. To win her love, Laila tells Romeo that he has to dance with her in front of everyone at the Moonlight Club where she performs. Romeo is game. After all, this is such a silly request. But he then realizes it's not as easy as it seems because Charlie secretly desires Laila and anyone who even dares go near her is dealt with severely. But Romeo braves the odds and dances with Laila to win her heart. Love blossoms. Enter villain. Romeo is terrorized; he promises Charlie that he will win Laila for him (Charlie).
Romeo does not intend to lose Laila but has plans for deflating Charlie's ego. He is caught two-timing by Charlie's chamcha and all hell breaks loose. In the end, however, love triumphs. There's a scene where Romeo shows off his left hand with Laila's names tattooed on it and another, straight out from DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYEGE, the famous train shot.
All in all, an enjoyable fare. ROADSIDE ROMEO will have many for company this Diwali. The kids will just love him.