Roadside Romeo

Director: Jugal Hansraj
Cast: Vrajesh Hirjee, Tanaz Irani , Javed Jaffrey , Kareena Kapoor , Saif Ali Khan, Suresh Menon, Sanjay Mishra , Kiku Sharda

If you thought that Indian filmmakers were not competent enough to come out with a hardcore super-duper entertaining animation flick, then you’re sadly mistaken for now ‘Yash Raj Films’ (YRF), who have been under a public scanner for making films a mere business or a ploy to mint money. They have also been weathering accusations that they have reduced to being sheer businessmen, and have come up with a product that will hopefully put an end to such indictments.

With ‘Roadside Romeo’, YRF have proved that they are truly the only production house that would indulge into something so out of the box (at least in the terms of Indian filmmaking). This flick is a refreshing change from the half-heartedly designed animated Indian movies. The distinctive point here is purely the fact that this one has a story after all and is not a rehash of some Indian mythological story!

This is a great piece of work from a not so great actor Jugal Hansraj (of ‘Masoom’ fame) who has been struggling to make a mark in Bollywood by doing blink-a-miss appearances in (only) Yash Raj movies. Guess, philanthropist Yash uncle couldn’t see ‘Jughead’ Hansraj doing odd jobs and volunteered to give him a chance in direction instead. We believe Yash uncle won’t be disappointed with the consequence though, as the dark horse of the stable has hit a bulls eye. By choosing Saif-Kareena for voiceovers and a not so bad script, Jugal makes sure that he cooks up an interesting recipe.

This modern Hollywood style drama is about Romeo (Saif Ali Khan) who was once a pet dog with all the possible good things of life but is abandoned by his master. He ends up on the streets soon and after certain struggles ends up befriending the rowdy street dogs with whom he eventually starts a saloon.

Very soon Romeo falls in love (Bollywood style) when he comes across Laila (Kareena Kapoor) but things aren’t that easy for the hero, are they? The only problem here being the dreaded don of the dogs, Charlie Anna (Javed Jaffrey), who also has hots for Laila. Romeo has to win Laila and at the same time save himself from the wrath of Charlie Anna.

The second half of Roadside Romeo is far more enjoyable than the first, as this is where things really pick up. The duo (Romeo and Laila) hook up without too much courting but Charlie’s gofer, spots them enjoying a kiss (a regular in YRF flicks these days). Furious Anna decides to set Romeo right. Meanwhile, Romeo and gang keep trying to find their way out of this mess, while avoiding municipality vans that catch stray dogs.

Talking about the plus points now, the storytelling is simple with no vagueness. There is enough masala (a Hrithik Roshan ‘Dhoom’ number too). It boasts of amazing animation and completely madcap characterization. There are emotions like love, hate, anger making it identifiable. Not even a single person is a misfit, with everyone putting in a splendid effort. As far as Hansraj’s direction is concerned, he has written a story that is in one word ‘sweet’. The direction is fairly good.

This one is a complete paisa vasool. Three cheers for the animated Romeo!

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