Indian animation has come of age with Arnab Choudhury's ARJUN THE WARRIOR PRINCE. This one is epic in all aspects. It catapults creativity to an all-time high. To begin with, Arnab takes on Mahabharata, juices out Arjun's character and focusses his entire film on this precocious talent who first fights the battles in his mind before annihilating Duryodhan and his army in a rather contemporary manner. This story is told in a smart way as though it has happened thousands of years ago, when in fact it is unfolding before your very eyes. This brilliance in narration by Arnab is simply fascinating.
Kudos to his vision for minutely detailing all aspects of the film; be it the sets, the characters, their expressions, their voices, their individual walk, their outfits, the camera angles or even the music. Arnab has left nothing to chance. He has even slipped in a flipper with a neat twist in the tale, revolving the central characters around Arjun, rather than Arjun just being part of the battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The climax, when revealed is a pleasant exercise in creativity.
Several scenes knock you off your feet with the technical know-how with which it has been executed.
1) The horse-racing scene early on, a long sequence, in which Duryodhan trips the chariot of Bheem. This one sets the precursor of scenes to follow.
2) The swayamwar scene with Draupadi where Arjun sends off the fish flying from the pond with the arrow in its eye. The entire mood created for the occasion is mind-numbing. The underwater shot is what Hollywood stuff is made off.
3) Another sequence which leaves no room for error is the game of chaupat (roll of the dice). Arnab focusses on the evil intent of Shakuni Mama and the helplessness of Yudishtir and his brothers. The set design here is awesome.
4) The final yudh recreated with thousands of horses and the duel between Arjun and his master and then with Duryodhan is stuff of what legends are made of.
Choudhury admits that he was fascinated by B R Chopra's serial almost 20 years ago and his interest in the Mahabharat grew while watching it. He thus went about penning a different route to the battle, which had its roots in Hastinapur, between the Kauravas and Pandavas. This is the untold story of the hero of Mahabharata, a precocious talent thrown to the wolves, so to speak, by the roll of the dice and his elder brother's ego to continue playing even after he had lost everything he had.
While Hollywood is numero uno when it comes to animation, India too has made rapid strides in the animation industry and this is seen in ATWP. Arnab has shown that the Indian animation industry is not far behind when it comes to quality and technology which can only stand out when coupled with high-end creativity.
This film has been in the making since 2008 by UTV Toons. Somewhere down the line Walt Disney joined in to make it one of India's epic animated films thus far.
If your Sunday mornings were spent in front of the television set two decades ago, this one is definitely for you. Rating - 4/5