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Review: Zokkomon

Movie Reviews
22 April 2011

Director: Satyajit Bhatkal
Cast: Darsheel Safary, Anupam Kher, Manjari Phadnis

Rating: **

Zokkomon is a brilliant business plan and every parent's best bet for escaping their kids for a few hours. A superhero movie that features Darsheel Safary's journey from awkward to awesome has to be the best way to kick-start the summer vacations.

The film opens to an establishing shot of rural India which is done with Kailash Kher belching out a number, appropriately picturised on Makarand Deshpande. This is done simultaneously as Kunal (Darsheel Safary) is being sent to the custody of his legal guardian, Chacha (Anupam Kher) after the demise of his parents. And the helicopter shot of Hogwarts Express that you might have caught in the promos is actually Indian Rail that's taking Kunal to his predictably evil uncle and aunt who leave no stone unturned to give him the Cinderella treatment.

Soon, Kunal is forsaken at an amusement park by his evil chacha, who then pronounces him dead, to polish off his inheritance. Kunal roams aimlessly in Mumbai and soon finds Kittu Didi (Manjari Fadnis), a vagabond artist who happily accepts her sleeping surface inside film studios, malls etc. She invites Kunal into her magical world, inside a film set, where she transforms into Akbar, a belly dancer, a biker babe and even Hard Kaur, while grooving to a tedious number. It almost seems like we've stolen into Manjari's ultimate fantasy where she's enacting every role she didn't bag in real life.

Kunal finds his way back to the evil chacha with a charcoal-coated face (Mumbai's pollution?) to realise his uncle's transgressions. He seeks refuge at a supposedly haunted house in the village, occupied by Magic Uncle (Anupam Kher in a shaggier look). Together they decide that to teach his uncle a lesson and to educate the superstitious village folk, they needed a superhero. So with Magic Uncle's scientific marvels, Kunal is digitally transformed into Zokkoman.

Soon , Zokkomon manages to win the kids with his scientifically-assisted tricks, orchestrated by Magic uncle. Zipping across wearing a jet-pack, Zokkomon enthralls one and all. He manages to expose his uncle's notorious ways to the simple village folk and eventually science triumphs over superstition. Even Kittu Didi returns just in time to cash in on the fame and joins Kunal and Magic uncle in fulfilling their dream (of making everyone love science?).

Darsheel's spontaneity, innocent blissful attitude and smart-ass confidence, combine to add up to a power-packed performance. Anupam Kher is both convincingly wicked and awkwardly caring in his two roles. The music is forgettable but then a movie like this doesn't need item numbers to pull in a crowd. The SFX is far superior to the embarrassing animated-versions of Indian gods that had sprung up last year.

Overall, this film is a success as it manages to grab the attention and interest through most of its runtime. And that's commendable for a film crafted chiefly for kids.

You can reach me at guha.kunal@rocketmail.com or connect with me on Facebook

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