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Krishna Aur Kans

This film took nine years to make according to Ashish S.K., CEO, Reliance Animation. I don't know if his team of purportedly ace animators of India can really be proud of their low-class 'magnum-opus' that betrays their creative incompetence, utter lack of imagination, and commitment to develop and execute a state of the art world-class animation film project. They seem content and happy doing back-end 'chaparsigiri' of western animation and VFX outfits for the rest of their lives. They obviously work with extremely low and outmoded benchmarks.

It's the story of the birth of Krishna and his childhood until the point he meets his maternal uncle Kans and kills him. Every Indian knows the story by heart and never gets tired of being overwhelmed by it year after year while celebrating the birth of the 8th Avatar in the Hindu pantheon on Janmashtami day. In this case the filmmakers have tried to re-interpret the familiar folklore in an idiotic Bollywoodish way and instead of adding some important new dimension to its inherent drama, have killed its spirit and impact. The film repeatedly tests the patience of the audience with badly scripted and visualized narrative in an animation style that has fallen in disuse eons ago. KRISHNA AUR KANS is neither a product of conviction nor of a desire to take the animation art and craft in India to the next level. The 3D rendition of the film is worthless.

What surprises and irritates is the way the film's writers have left out the more dramatic and touching episodes from Krishna's story in preference to banal philosophical discourse and badly written, composed, and dramatized songs. They also have a kind of an item number on Pootna, the 'rakshashi', who was sent to kill Krishna. The supposedly funny idea is anything but funny.

The songs are pathetic and leave everyone wondering as to what stopped the filmmakers from using the traditional copyright free Surdas and Meera songs. If they were so keen to add the Hindi film or Bollywood touch, they could have done a 'Govinda Aala' sequence. The highly dramatic episodes in Balkrishna's life like 'Kaliy Mardan' and 'the Raising of the Govardhan Parvat' have been treated cursorily. There is also a pathetically executed romantic track woven around Radha and Krishna, which ignores the fact that Radha was older than Krishna and was not actually from Vrindavan. The beginning sequence that shows Kans burning villages and raising a work force of bonded labour to build a Roman coliseum and his giant statue is clichéd and poorly conceived imitation of various historical films of Bollywood and Hollywood variety. It has nothing to do with the original Puranic narrative. The writers have also invented a bunkum theory that Kans nursed the ambition of attaining Godhood.

The lengthy philosophizing by Akrur to little girls of Vrindavan, when he comes to take Krishna and Balram to Mathura, is a stupid thing to do in a film designed to entertain, and educate kids. The footage and labour saved from such idiocies could have been used to develop the more dramatic episodes of Krishna-Kans saga. How is it that the filmmakers did not find the killing of the mad elephant Kuvalayapida by Krishna and Balram in Mathura dramatic enough to be included in the film's climax sequence?

KRISHNA AUR KANS is a squandered opportunity. It brings no credit to its creators. It exposes their serious limitations as animation artists. It is a criminal waste of one of our great Puranic ideas that could have been made into as big a film as AVATAR. I don't understand why do we keep committing such follies time and again. What stops us from exploring huge possibilities inherent in these ideas with artistic integrity and commitment?

The film does not deserve more than two stars – one for its being the story of Krishna that leaves certain impact on the audience in spite of its bad execution, and one more to encourage our animators to be imaginative and to work harder to set and attain higher benchmarks of creative excellence in the field of animation to be emulated by the rest of the world.

Rating - 2/5

Rajesh Kumar Singh