Saturday, April 23, 2011

Darsheel Safary's movie 'Zokkomon': Movie Preview:

Darsheel Safary's movie 'Zokkomon': Movie PreviewChildren’s films are in a pretty abysmal state in our country and I’m afraid that Zokkomon, the new Disney superhero movie, has lowered the bar even further.

The film is derivative, relentlessly foolish and staggeringly boring. Zokkomon is yet another Indian kiddie flick in which the creators believe that children equal low IQ. So, pretty much anything goes and debutant director Satyajit Bhatkal doesn’t even attempt to stay true to the film’s own logic.

Zokkomon is the story of Kunal, a Harry Potter-like orphan played by Darsheel Safary, who is randomly summoned to live in a small town by his greedy, cruel uncle, Deshraj played by Anupam Kher. Deshraj has a gluttonous son who seems modeled on Harry’s fat cousin Dudley Dursley. Of course this the least of Kunal’s problems. Deshraj runs a school in which children are terrorized and beaten and he siphons government money for personal use.

In order to get his hands on Kunal’s money, Deshraj takes Kunal to the city, abandons him, pretends that he is dead and pockets the check. But Kunal finds his way back and returns to liberate the people and especially the children of the town by becoming the pint-sized superhero Zokkomon.

In this, he is helped by a strange scientist, whom Kunal calls Magic uncle, also played by Anupam Kher. Magic uncle wears a tool belt and looks more like a carpenter than a genius scientist but somehow he fits Kunal with appropriate super-hero gadgetry.

I think co-writer and director Satyajit Bhatkal meant Zokkomon as an empowerment fable for children and a paean against black magic and superstition but the film is just too clumsy. There is little magic or inventiveness here--just leaden direction, hammy acting and bargain basement special effects. Poor Darsheel is made to wear a mask with weirdly glowing eyes and lip-gloss. I’m going with one and a half star.

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