By Taran Adarsh, December 24th, 2004 - 1500 hrs IST
Attempting a kiddie film is an arduous task. And if you are using a technology like 3D, it gets all the more difficult.
Inspired by the HARRY POTTER series, Dheeraj Kumar attempts a film that's targeted at the kids. And though AABRA KA DAABRA may not match up to its international inspiration, there's no denying that it does have its moments.
Besides, the 3D format is a novel experience for those who haven't watched CHHOTA CHETAN, by far the best 3D film in India.
AABRA KA DAABRA tells the story of Shanu [Master Athit Naik], who joins the school of magic, Aabra Ka Daabra, to become a magician. There's a reason behind Shanu aspiring to be a magician: His father Madan [Krrishna Sonie] was a magician who everyone presumed had died while performing a daredevil act.
At the magic school, Shanu befriends two girls [Hansika Motwani, Esha Trivedi], but he's always at loggerheads with the head-boy, Changezi [Vishal Lalwani]. Shanu also meets a magician who happens to be his father's friend, Limo [Anupam Kher].
While following the school principal Rang Birangi aka R.B. [Tiara] late one night, Shanu learns a startling fact: His father is very much alive and is in fact held captive by R.B. The rest of the film is about Shanu and his magical adventures.
What makes AABRA KA DAABRA watchable are the characters that the kids would relate to instantly. The school of magic, the adventures of the kid-protagonist, the school principal and her devious plans, the tussle between Athit and Vishal - the goings-on unfold at a fast pace.
The story actually gathers momentum when Athit, Hansika and Esha discover the truth just before the intermission.
Any loose ends? Yes, the blatant in-film advertising [Camel, Camlin products, Parle G biscuits] should've been woven intelligently in the narrative. The products are crudely placed in the story, so much so that the entire exercise puts you off completely.
Dheeraj Kumar's direction is creditable. More than anything else, he has had the guts to opt for a theme not many producers would venture into and spend a fortune on not just the sets, but also on a technology that's quite expensive [camera, lenses, glasses et al].
This film relies heavily on technique and the outcome is quite okay. A couple of gimmicks as also animated characters like Zulu and Chuchu are cute. But a few 3D gimmicks seem forced just for effect. Himesh Reshammiya's music is functional. 'Chutkan Gang Ka Kya Kehna' is the pick of the lot. Cinematography [Ajay Tandon] is alright.
AABRA KA DAABRA revolves around the kids and all of them come up with decent performances. Master Athit is adorable, followed by Vishal. Hansika and Esha are effective. Tiara enacts her part well. Anupam Kher goes over the top. Satish Kaushik, Archana Puransingh, Navin Bawa and Johny Lever are adequate. Shweta Tiwari and Krrishna Sonie are fair.
On the whole, AABRA KA DAABRA caters to the kids mainly and releasing it during the vacations is a step in the right direction. But from the box-office point of view, the film faces two oppositions - a biggie called AB TUMHARE HAWALE WATAN SATHIYO [releasing this week as well] and a low-key publicity campaign. The film will have to rely on word of mouth and kids' patronage to leave a mark!
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