Aladin

Make a wish... cajoles Genie and one just wishes to be anywhere but in ‘Khwahish’, the imaginary land writer-director Sujoy Ghosh has coaxed us into. This is Khwahish, India’s own ‘fictional city’ with its cobbled streets, narrow alleys and of course, Aladin, the lamp (with the genie inside) and the dark sinister villains lending it that magic touch. Aladin has all the elements a fantasy- adventure movie should have and yet it leaves a lot to be desired. Sujoy Ghosh needs to be commended for experimenting with a genre that is rare not only in Indian but world cinema.  Aladin Chatterjee (Ritesh Deshmukh) lives in Khwahish (where else). He wears his father’s sweater (all through the movie), something that looks like a schoolbag, and a perennial dumb expression to the college. Other than this, his favourite pastimes are being pushed around by the bullies and self-pitying over his loneliness. This till the lovely damsel Jasmine (Jacqueline Fernandes) comes to Khwahish.

Aladin ends up with a lamp (as expected) which throws out rings of blue smoke, silver hair and garish clothes with (lo!) Amitabh Bahchan (the Genie) in it. The rockstar Genie greets the master “Yo Brother” instead of  “Kya hukum hai mere aaqa”.  To awaken a by-now comatose audience, enter evil Ringmaster (Sanjay Dutt) and his villainous sidekicks. 

Amitabh as the Genie is not so endearing. His breaking into a jig every 10 minutes just makes the person sitting next to you seem more interesting. The movie is technically superb with good special effects and background score. It is indeed a visual spectacle in parts but then, we cannot wish to see just those parts of the movie, or can we, Genie? The supposedly wholesome entertainer turns out to be not so wholesome or entertaining. Just wish it away...

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