These days, Amitabh Bachchan has decided to wipe out all public memory of his cinematic feats, and scrape up anything that comes his way. His latest, Aladin, is one of his signature efforts in that direction.
Aladin is nothing but fantasy. And the fact that the script exists, is fantasy as well. In a land called Khwaish, lives the unfortunately named orphan Aladin (Riteish Deshmukh). His classmates keep playing their favourite game with him - to make him rub a lamp and then beat him up for not making a genie appear.
This happens for 20 long years. After that, everyone's height and clothes change. Aladin is sick of the nasty game. He doesn't get to change his clothes even once in those 20 years.
And now, his crush on Jasmine (Jacqueline Fernandez) leads him into some unpleasant run-ins with these bullies. On his birthday, they all, including the well-meaning Jasmine, gift him a lamp and make him rub it. This makes him lonely, and he stares at the audience. This makes him even more lonely, and he stares at his grandpa's photograph.
Out of the lamp comes Genius (Amitabh Bachchan) the genie. Aladin is convinced he's no genie. After Genius shows him his wig, he's convinced he's no human either, but just a walking bird zoo. Genius grants him 3 wishes and asks him to hurry up with them as Genius can then be set free.
Aladin never imagined that his chance to ask for world peace, disease eradication, and the movie's ending, would come so early on in his life. And it's a good thing he never imagined it. He wastes 2 wishes on Jasmine, and for the 3rd, he asks for non-magical help in wooing her.
Sanjay Dutt, as the wicked magician Ring Master, butts into the story with some evil dialogues, disturbing expressions and dangerous circus artistes - that is, if you agree that 'evil', 'disturbing' and 'dangerous' mean the same as 'coma-inducing'. Plus, Aladin has a flashback that is not-so-subtly copied from Harry Potter - his parents died when he was a kid.
Aladin is a magical musical extravaganza all right. It would have only taken magic and ear-splitting 3rd degree methods (in other words, the film's music) to get Big B and Ritesh Deshmukh to sign this one. The weak story isn't at all helped by its insipid dialogues.
The film also seems confused about who its target audience is - kids, pre-teens or teens. We think it shouldn't bother, and should stick to whoever enters the theatre first - that way, the others will be warned in advance.
Amitabh Bachchan is over-eager, but not half as much as his make-up man is. Riteish Deshmukh looks cute as a teenager, even though he ends up looking unconvinced about the script. Sanjay Dutt hardly has much to do. Ratna Pathak Shah goes unnoticed, but sadly not by Big B's costume department - her gypsy outfit is an eyesore. However, the heroine, Jacqueline Fernandes, is gorgeous enough to outshine everything else.
The music, like we pointed out, is pretty loud, and there's a lot of Bachchan all over the songs. As for the visuals, they are, well, ambitious. The town of Khwaish is fort-like, and has been set up to look like an ancient civilization. Some special effects are tacky, but more important, do not quicken the plot's pace.
Aladin is hardly the kind of movie that must be seen to be believed. You can miss it, and still believe it's as bad.