Plot: Two young kids, Badru and Chetan, are visiting Badru’s grandfather in Balipur, where a fearsome beast lurking at night has terrorized the simple village folk. They pair up with kids Upin, Ipin and Raju and the whole gang ventures into an adventure, deep into the exotic rainforest filled with dangerous animals.

What’s Good: The jokes and scary monsters; they will work with the kids.

What’s Bad: The simplistic storyline; the darker colours used in the second half of the film.

Verdict: Geng – The Adventure Begins faces stiff competition from the animation fare on TV.

Loo Break: None.

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Les Copaque and Indiatales Media Pvt. Ltd.’s Geng – The Adventure Begins (animation; dubbed) is an animation movie based on the exploits of a bunch of kids inside a rainforest, full of mysterious and dangerous animals.

Young Badru and his friend, Chetan, decide to go on a short holiday to Balipur village where lives Badru’s grandfather. Once in Balipur, they discover that the simple village folk are being terrorized by a mysterious ‘Jackfruit Monster’, who is stealing and eating jackfruits from the grandfather’s farm. Badru and Chetan befriend a young boy, Raju, who can talk to animals, and also two adorable but mischievous kids, Upin and Ipin, and their sister, Rose.

Together, the group ventures into the jackfruit farm for some adventure. Once inside, Raju, Upin and Ipin are separated from the rest of the group and befriend a strange but harmless, red-coloured squirrel-like animal, Tillu, who seeks their help to find his lost mother. As they find their way out of the rainforest, Badru and Chetan, and Upin, Ipin, Raju and Tillu are attacked by a vicious monster. While Bardu and Chetan are captured, the rest are able to give the monster a miss, only to be attacked by a giant snake! How the kids finally manage to escape from the monster’s clutches, save Tillu’s mother and, in the process, uncover an animal-smuggling racket forms the rest of the story.

While Muhammad Anas Abdul Aziz’s story and screenplay are very simple, the story is replete with jokes meant for the kids. The latter part of the film also has a few scary moments that will make the kids jump in their seats. The characters of Raju, who can speak to animals, and Upin and Ipin are adorable. Although the film is originally in Malaysian (Geng: Pengembaraan Bermula) and has been dubbed in Hindi, it has been given the local flavour well enough. Despite the character’s South-East Asian appearances, the film has a South Indian character and also a Punjabi! The dubbing and music are good. Meghna Irende, who has done the voices for Upin and Ipin, does a great job.  Viral Shah, as Badru, and Amit Deondi, as Chetan, are also good.

Mohd Nizam Abd Razak’s direction is fare as he manages to maintain the pace of the narration; the film never really gets boring. The animation quality leaves a lot to be desired. For example, the colours used in the latter part of the film are very dull.

The ultimate downside of the film is that in spite of having a fair story, it will be compared to the usual cartoon shows that are served on television and also to the wonderfully crafted Hollywood animation films. Overall, Geng – The Adventure Begins will, therefore, fail at the box-office.

Released on 27-8-’10 at …… (daily … shows) and … other cinemas of Bombay thru ….. Publicity & opening: disastrous. …….Also released in …..

By Mrigank Dhaniwala

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