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Aladin
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh
Producer by: Sujoy Ghosh, Sunil A. Lulla
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Ritesh Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Saahil Khan, Arif Zakaria, Siddharth Sharma, William Ong, Juhi Chawla, Sameera Reddy
Music Dir: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani.

The fable is inspiring but this movie is formulaic! As the story goes, classmates of the orphaned Aladin Chatterjee (Riteish Deshmukh) make fun of this man with the name of a fabled guy who could make genies emerge.

Aladin bears the brunt of bullies for a long time until one day the genie (Amitabh Bachchan) does come out of the lamp only to grant the last three wishes before the genie retires! Aladin disappoints by using the magic only to win his college dream girl Jasmine (Miss Sri Lanka Jacqueline Fernandez). Aladin likes her but can't find it in him to approach Jasmine. And, this is where the movie precisely turns typical Bollywood.

Director Sujoy Ghosh says he conceived the plot during a chat a year ago with Riteish who later took the script and got an okay from Big B for Genie. Proposed lead Genelia D'souza couldn't match Amitabh's dates, so Jacqueline perfectly fit in.

The movie has a great name for a villain, playing Ringmaster (Sanjay Dutt). This character of an ex-genie wants to use the magic of the lamp for himself over humankind is baffooney and comic but doesn't really suit the otherwise hilariously cool actor of the 'Munnabhai' fame.

Sujoy tries his own interpretation and cinematic language to adapt from the original story and character of Aladin. Some might describe the flick as a contemporary adaptation of the Arabian Nights. Characterizations of Marjina and Qasim are loosely derived from another popular Arabian Nights story Alibaba and the Forty Thieves.

A female frog serves as a reference to the fable of The Frog Prince. At times and in places, the direction is vibrant in depiction. But, in some places, like characters of the Ringmaster's crew seem just picked up from movies like Wolverine. The movie's USP seems to be Big B's frequent delivery of the dialogue "Kya Hukum Hai Mere Akka". And, the dazzling Jacqueline is quite an eye-catcher.

Bound Script' (that's Sujoy's banner name) writers - Sujoy Ghosh, Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair - have pretty much put together an assortment of Bollywood clichés. It's the typical romance plot to woo the girl, mixed with the underdog story and the stereotypical villains.

There is many a glimpse of other Bollywood flicks - in terms of scenes, songs and even plots. There's too much of song and dance and Vishal-Shekhar's musical score is just passable. Riteish fits the character, as envisaged perhaps and because he is so capable of those expressions.

But, there's no real imagination in his role. Amitabh is a good but loud Genie. Sanjay Dutt does not amuse beyond a limited extent. Jacqueline Fernandez is but only absolutely stunning to give Kareena and Katrina a run-for-money through her gorgeous looks.

The plot is puzzling and the storytelling muddled with lots of disconnects between onscreen happenings and some comet that could make anyone who touches its shadow indestructible. The Ringmaster with jokers, giants, fire-eaters etcetera are not funny or scary.

Special effects may be Hollywoodian but don't do much when one sees Amitabh mutate into a lion, Riteish into a donkey and an inflated rubber doll, Dutt into a face in the mirror and leaping up to clench a comet. Vishal-Shekhar, the currently in-form music duo, didn't really churned out anything unusual in 'Aladin'.

This Rs. 400 million or $ 10 million movie does show mettle in the VFX effects supervised by Charles Darby (Matrix, Harry Potter). There are some decently done sequences. Sabu Cyril's art direction gives a fantasy feel to the hill-station town setting.

To sum up, Aladin may go down as a big let down from director Sujoy Ghosh. To be honest, the Genie played by Big B, Ringmaster by Sanjay Dutt, Aladin by Riteish and Jasmine by the glamorous Jacqueline don't create as much magic as expected from them.

The two tall guys of Bollywood, Amitabh and Sanjay, have perhaps for the first time failed the audience by an ordinary performance. The role just doesn't fit for Amitabh's personality. Nor does Sanjay Dutt play a good joker or a villain. Jacqueline seems a sexy model but fails in debut acting.

The movie may fare well at least initially because of its promotion spree by Big B himself and due to director Sujoy Ghosh's past name. Eros has released it with 70 prints in the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh territory. But, this 'Aladin' lacks the magic.


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