I’ve been hollering Mahabali maharudra mahabhakta shauryavan veer Hanuman all of today. An after-effect of having watched Hanuman yesterday, the full length animation feature that has surprised everyone by becoming a moderate hit.
First, the soundtrack is great. Composer Tapas Relia uses traditional material and sets it nicely to fast paced, heart pumping rhythms that appeal. This particular number I mentioned has half the music industry singing it – Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Palash Sen, Kailash Kher, Madhushree, Sneha Pant and Sapna Mukherjee.
The movie has many pluses, not the least of which is the cutest baby Hanuman possible, cuddly, limpid wide eyes and all. There were a few minuses though. They can’t be very significant because kids seem to have loved it, and if they don’t form a discerning audience, who does? Also, animation seems like such an immense labour of love, I hesitate to sit back and point out flaws. I mean, people who attempt it in India are doing so in near-hostile circumstances; it seems like ingratitude to carp.
Having said that, it is because animation is such a laborious process that it becomes even more worthwhile to invest in the script. Hanuman is a fast paced story, but moves too hastily, and too episodically over the various heroic exploits on the director’s item list. I wasn’t entirely happy with the style of graphics but blame that entirely on years of reading Amar Chitra Kathas. Anything unlike those comics, and the mind rebels.
I also missed the depth of characterisation that would’ve uplifted the film. Remember that story about Hanuman sitting at the tip of the subcontinent, staring out at the ocean, struck immobile by an attack of insecurity, wondering if he could possibly leap it? That stirring speech by Jambavanta, reminding Hanuman of his powers, drawing out the self belief so necessary for such a stupendous feat. I like those parts of our mythology best - when the gods are a little human. The movie skims over most of these, but it was fun for all that.
PS. Is Hanuman really considered an avatar of Shiva? Mum says one thread of mythology does say that but this is the first I’ve heard of it.