Toonpur Ka Superhero, being billed as the first Indian animation feature, boasts of impressive animation and detail. The movie is one of those that mark a change in the course of the Indian animation industry, from being a service provider to Hollywood movies to a maker of visually scintillating movies. Unfortunately, Toonpur..., as a movie targeted at today's kids, doesn't try overly hard to impress, and it shows.
The story goes like this. The beautiful little town of Toonpur is in a crisis. The evil Toonasurs have wrested control of the town from the do-gooder Devtoons, and imprisoned the King Tooneshwar. Impressed by the onscreen machismo of the superstar Aditya Kumar (Ajay Devgn), the toon citizens of the town decide to kidnap the human, hoping he will rescue them from the evil ruler Toonasur.
Aditya himself is in a low, having just been called a 'fake' by his son for using dupes and stunt masters in action sequences. He had been spending too little time with the family of late, while wifey Priya (Kajol) attributes everything to bad Vaastu. She knows, because she did a course in Vaastu.
An initially reluctant Aditya now sees an opportunity to impress his kids, who happen to be huge fans of the Toonpur toons. The canvas shifts seamlessly between the human world and Toonpur, even as the fight against evil becomes personal.
Aditya's family is kidnapped, too, this time by the Toonasurs. It is now up to Aditya to strategize with the toons and vanquish the Toonasurs. The movie culminates in an arcade-game like climax as Aditya saves both his family and the good toons and restores democracy to the troubled land.
The simple storyline doesn't have too many twists or turns, and the dialogues, occasionally sparkling as they are, aren't beyond a fifth-grader's comprehension. The short runtime (1 hour 38 mins) steers clear of prolonged sequences and overstretched dialogues.
Then, there are easily identifiable characters such as Gappi, the Bappi Lahiri look-alike; Big Ben, the Gujarati housewife; and Bolly, the quintessential Punjabi kid who idolizes Bollywood stars. The movie succeeds in providing some healthy desi entertainment to the kids, a far cry from the adult and slapstick humour that Bollywood feeds them with.
The Devgns, who have already produced and acted in films targeted at the younger audiences, have fitted in quite comfortably. Kajol's role might well have been called a guest appearance in a mainstream Bollywood movie, but Ajay Devgn sparkles throughout. The intense actor of Gangajal
lends himself completely to the differently-demanding role in Toonpur Ka Superhero.
However, the flaws make this a could-have-been. Post-interval, the movie loses its focus and direction once too often. The music by Anu Malik hasn't much to write about; the second (and thankfully the last) song only gives viewers an excuse to go to the loo once again. The mumbling voice-over by Sanjay Dutt in the opening scene, introducing the characters of Toonpur, could have been done away with.
The surprise superheroes of the desi Toonpur, however, are the team at Pixion. There is visible attention to detail, and the sync between human characters and toons isn't lost.
The movie sure is a healthier option for kids than the Golmaals of today, but whether the kids know that depends on how well Toonpur beats the Toy Storys of today, which doesn't seem too likely a fact.