In a recent interview, Rajiv Chilaka, managing director of Green Gold, and the creator, producer and director of Pogo's Chhota Bheem series, said, "I don't think IPL is as popular as Chhota Bheem". And he is not exaggerating.
Chhota Bheem is a super-hit animation series, and has not only taken home a few awards, but also made available comic books and merchandise. Now, in an effort to make the character larger than life, the makers decided to produce a movie, hoping to make the little strong boy more popular.
Chhota Bheem And The Curse Of Damyaan begins with a hissing voice, emanating from the underground, telling his serpent cronies to find a pure-hearted king who can release the above-mentioned voice from its 1,000-year curse. And who can be a better king than Indravarma of Dholakpur?
So these serpents assume human forms, and the leader befriends the king. He tells the monarch that there is a city of gold, Sonapur, that is buried in the desert, and that they should go and look for it.
So the royal Indravarma sets out with his army and his trusted advisors - a group of pre-teen kids led by Chhota Bheem. The little boy with extraordinary strength, who depends on laddoos to boost his energy, is suspicious of the king's slimy new friend, but he remains loyal to the king, and goes along with whatever he says.
Once Indravarma has unearthed the city, out comes Damyaan, an ichchadhaari naag, who oppressed and ruled the citizens of the once-splendid kingdom a 1,000 years ago.
As far as stories go, this one is a classic case of good versus evil, with the former triumphing over the latter. The added masala is the time travel and the magic, and this may be a little complicated for younger minds. The makers have simplified the story as much as possible, but there are times when the plot drags on and on.
The 2D animation is not the best you have seen, but the makers must have guessed that it does not matter to their target audience. There are some sequences where close-ups lead to highly pixelated images, that can become a bit jarring. The art is typical of the 2D animation features on television, and therefore, familiar territory to be explored.
The music is hummable, and the songs, sung by Shaan, may become a hit with children. The actors voicing the characters are decent, if a bit shrill at times.
Given the relatively poor quality of the visuals, it is best to avoid watching Chhota Bheem And The Curse Of Daamyan on the big screen. Wait for it to release on DVD, and till then, indulge your child with reruns of the Chhota Bheem series on Pogo.