The premier production house [Yash Raj Films] teams up with one of the biggest studios of West [Walt Disney Pictures] for an animation film. You expect this collaboration to yield incredible results. Animation movies like THE LION KING and SHREK have appealed to every strata of movie-going audience the world over. Although 'Made in India' animation films are making their way into our plexes, the results, most of the times, are amateurish.
But ROADSIDE ROMEO pulls it off. In terms of animation [Tata Elxsi/VCL], it's a step forward as compared to the other animation films. But there's a hitch: Hackneyed script [penned by debutante director Jugal Hansraj].
Films like LION KING or SHREK, even FINDING NEMO, worked because they were innovative concepts. They had interesting stories to tell. Plus, most importantly, they were rich in emotions. You'd laugh when they laughed, you'd cry when they cried, the writing was so effectual.
ROADSIDE ROMEO borrows from the masala films of 1980s. There's a hero, a heroine, the mandatory villain, plus love, problems, misunderstandings and conflict, but all's well that ends well. The story is predictable and worse, you don't feel for any of those characters you watch on screen.
Another factor that goes against the film is the fact that it lacks good music. Though the title track and also 'Chule Na' have been publicized, the impact is missing. Ideally, the makers should've gone ahead and incorporated the evergreen songs from their rich repertoire in this animation film. The kids would've loved it!
There's one more hiccup. Assuming that ROADSIDE ROMEO is mainly targeted at the kids, the dialogues by Charlie Anna, the villain who speaks in a South Indian accent, are difficult to decipher and comprehend [at times] even for adults. Imagine, how difficult it would be for the kids to grasp those lines.
Yet, despite the shortcomings, ROADSIDE ROMEO works because the second hour keeps you fairly engrossed. A few portions like the cat pretending to be the pretty Laila on a date with Charlie Anna is amazing. Also, the culmination, a straight lift from the by-now-famous train ending from D.D.L.J., is equally enjoyable.
The voice-overs are perfect. Saif [Romeo] and Kareena [Laila] were the right choices for the lead players. Tanaaz Currim [cat] and Sanjay Mishra [the villain's sidekick] stand out as well.
On the whole, it's thumbs up for animation, but thumbs down for scripting in ROADSIDE ROMEO. It might glimmer during the festive week, but this Romeo is unlikely to rule the hearts of kids or kids at heart.