Arjun: The Warrior Prince Stands Out for His Occasional Brilliance in Animation
To put it simply, Arjun: The Warrior Prince is quite an impressive step towards animation in Indian cinema. It has some of the most gorgeous images that Indian animation cinema has ever seen. Arjun has been presented as a tall, dark and handsome man with chiseled features and wash board abs. Arjun shooting an arrow through a golden fish in order to win Draupadi’s hand for marriage is a scene that stands out for its spectacular appeal. The climax which shows the formation of the Chakravyuh army is also incredible. Reference from Japanese manga and anime makes the visuals even more rich and engaging.
The title of the film may lead you to believe that it will be a film about the Battle of Kurukshetra, the struggle for power between the good and bad. But this ‘Arjun’ starts with the nine year old Arjun and traces his epic journey from being a prince and a humble student of Dronacharya to a warrior. It is on Arjun, the archer, that the film is based. It tracks how time and again he had to prove his prowess as an archer. He has been presented as an indomitable warrior, a vindictive husband who swears to avenge his wife’s humiliation and as a devoted brother. The psychological battles of Arjun have been beautifully portrayed in the film.
But sadly, the other characters except for the evil Shakuni Mama seem to remain underdeveloped. The characters are undoubtedly heroic but have been weakly sketched. The rage of Draupadi and the pain of Karna on being the right man fighting for the wrong people could have been portrayed better. Shakuni Mama has been portrayed as the typical villain we have always known him as. He is short, wheezy and succeeds in extracting our wrath and hatred. And like a true villain laughs uproariously on succeeding in his evil motives.
Arnab Chaudhuri has done an impressive job as a director. He has worked brilliantly on the grand scale throughout the film which, by the way, is not ostentatious but a sheer spectacle to feast our eyes on. Things like the presentation of landscapes, chariot race through the monolithic fort, pageantry galore etc. may be simple eye candies but do not look useless. Even the clichés have been refreshingly presented by the director. An apt example of this would be the scene where you get to see Arjun in various poses surrounded by lonely mountains. What saves this scene from being a cliché is the way it has been shot. A carousel shot is seen capturing him from all the angles. Besides, it is the combination of an awe-inspiring backdrop of snow-capped mountains and the roaring music that works brilliantly for the scene. The songs have also been magnificently shot. The music too is worth humming.
With the story known to everyone, the interest lies in narration, which unfortunately falls flat at times. The first half seems like a history lesson while the second half is speedy. Though animation films are generally meant for children, this film exhibits quite a few instances of violence especially in the battle scenes. It may not work as a perfect kid flick but it is a must watch as a beginner’s guide to Indian animation films.