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Roadside Romeo - Movie Review

By Aparajita Ghosh     24th Oct 2008     21.00 IST    

Roadside Romeo The only thing that dogs Roadside Romeo is a script ridden with uninteresting clichés from popular romantic movies. But the film does have superb animation, hitherto unseen in Hindi cinema.

What's common between dogs and men - apart from their territorial woof woof - is that they have hearts. 'Roadside Romeo' takes the men's most loyal pets and places them in the setting of a typical, kitschy Bollywood film with romance, drama, comedy and a bit of action.

At the centre of the story is a cultured and smart dog Romeo (voiced by Saif Ali Khan ) who is left to survive on the mean streets after the family that kept him moves to London. As Romeo grapples with the tough life on the streets ruled by goons, he befriends a couple of strays and begins a salon.

Cupid strikes Romeo when he sets eyes on Laila (voiced by Kareena Kapoor ) and falls head-over-tail in love with her. But Laila is not an easy catch. She puts forth a challenge that pits Romeo opposite the local goon Charlie Anna (voiced by Javed Jaffrey ), presumably a mongrel with southern breeding.

Now, Charlie is an obese bully (perhaps overfed on fast-food) who collects hafta in his locality and has an eye on Laila. Romeo may not be a match to Charlie's brawn power, but he (Romeo) has brains to outwit his rival.

Springing out as a collaboration between India's elite production house Yashraj Films and the Hollywood's Walt Disney Pictures, 'Roadside Romeo' is an animation film that holds an appeal strictly for kids.

The movie's main strength is its impressive animation work. Meticulous attention has been paid to not just the look of the characters, but also the details of the surroundings.

What 'Roadside Romeo' lacks is a fresh and unpredictable script. Jugal Hansraj , who seems to have given up acting (for the dogs) to pen and direct this canine love story, fails to come up with something that grips you. The twists and turns in the story are damn too predictable. Though there are sequences that win you over (like the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge style climax), they are minor twists in the tail that can't wag the dog.

The music is pretty average, but the dubbing by Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan is pretty bang on...rather, bark on. Javed Jaffrey seems to go over-the-top at places with his south Indian accent that is incomprehensible at times.

'Roadside Romeo' is not a path-breaking animation film, but it certainly is a lighthearted entertainer that will leave the kids woofing with joy.

Rating: **

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