Zor Lagaa Ke…Haiya! (2009) *MQ*

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The first that came to my mind while watching Girish Girija Joshi’s Zor Lagaa Ke…Haiya is the fact that thankfully, unlike most ‘children’s films’ made in India, this one actually had kids as the ‘heroes’. There was no Hanuman, Lord Shri Krishna or even a Krissh to help them out.Having said that, let me also add that Zor Lagaa Ke… is no Harry Potter.It’s not even a Spy Kids for that matter. It is a moralistic tale after all.The film somewhat reminded me of the good ol’ didactic docu-features on Doordarshan…maybe just a bit glossier.

Cast: Mithun Chakraborthy, Riya Sen, Gulshan Grover

The film deals with illegal cutting of trees in cities such as Mumbai. There’s a stereotypical bad man, a builder played by Gulshan Grover who is after one tree he wants to get cut. And the heroes, the ones who finally save the tree from this wicked builder are a bunch of kids and an old beggar played by Mithun Chakraborty.It’s quite endearing to watch the kids and the beggar work up one naughty trick after the other to save their tree. The exaggerated mannerisms of the villain Gulshan Grover and his side kick played by Mahesh Manjrekar also gives the film a fairytale-like appeal.

In fact, as far as performances are concerned, the actors put together a perfect show. Gulshan Grover and Mahesh Manjrekar look and behave exactly like a villain in a children’s film should. They exaggerate. They scream. They shout. They roll their eyes comically. And live up to the proper Cruela De’Vil image.Mithun Chakraborty as the beggar Raavan is great. One realises exactly why this Dalaal actor had already bagged three National Awards. It was definitely not for his disco, and he proves it in the film.The children are sweet and though their act looks a little put on, its fun watching them on screen. Ashwin Chitale as the poor construction worker’s son is perhaps the sweetest kid of the lot. He depicts the trials and tribulations of being a poor kid with big dreams to the ‘T’.

Zor Lagaa Ke…Haiya is a film for you and your children and of course the child in you, so just don’t miss it. Very rarely sensitive yet entertaining children’s films are made in India. It is a fine effort by debutante director Girish Girija Joshi and deserves a huge applause.

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part 7

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