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A magic spell in 3D

The star players of "Magic Magic" ... Suraj Balajee and Barkley the dog.

NAVODAYA, THE production house that made waves about two decades ago with the country's first 3D flick, the multi-lingual, "My Dear Kuttichaathaan" in Tamil and Malayalam and "Chota Chetan" in Hindi, are at the game once again. Astutely timed to coincide with the summer holiday season, the stunner this time is "Magic Magic" in five languages including our lingua franca, English. (In Hindi it is "Chota Jadugar")

The just released Tamil version is bound to be a wholesome treat for kids, who will be exposed to the fun of 3D for the first time. Mr. P. S. Rama Mohan Rao, Governor of Tamil Nadu, who inaugurated the preview show at Good Luck theatre, in Nungambakkam, Chennai, remarked that it would not be right on his part to indulge in too lengthy an inaugural address and stand between the film and the audience, which included many children. True to his word, the speech had exactly two sentences.

Watching the film through a pair of special glasses that every viewer is provided with would be an exciting proposition for children. The 3D effect, which involves the viewer directly with the paraphernalia of the film, is a visual game that one is bound to enjoy.

A magician's story obviously lends itself to a lot of visual jugglery in a 3D film. So here is a tale of an old man (S. P. Balasubramaniam) — a rich, practising magician, for whom magic, tricks, telepathy and superhuman pranks are a passion. His grandson Indrajit (Suraj S. Balajee) is both his devoted disciple and ardent fan. Fascinated by the old man's magical prowess, the child lives and breathes magic.

The old man's son, Krishna (Trilok Malik), is not happy about the eerie ambience that his young son is growing up in and whisks him away to his home in the U. S. The child feels absolutely miserable in the new surroundings in New York and flees from home. He makes friends with three orphans and a street dog. Indrajit's magic helps the gang earn a living. Meanwhile Krishna's announcement on television about his missing son sets a couple of wastrels on the boy's trail. The grandpa also arrives in the U. S., to look for his lost boy. Indrajit is now in the clutches of the villains who demand $1 million for his safe return. Finally things are resolved and Indrajit accompanies the old man back to his hometown.

The scenes involving the bad men who are complete nincompoops are hilarious and remind you of kids' films such as, "Home Alone" and "Mouse Hunt". The street dog Barkley is absolutely adorable. The ingenuity with which he hatches plans and corners the villains is incredible. Ably supported by others of his clan — the ravishing poodle and the police dog apart from a friendly, doggy battalion — Barkley steals the show. In all, 38 dogs have been used in the film and they have been supplied and trained by major players, Animal Actors of Hollywood and Dawn Animals and Services, New York. The captivating dog squad has worked in many a Hollywood production. In fact, Barkley was seen in the Oscar winning "American Beauty".

For Suraj, who is the Indrajit of "Magic Magic", it is another worthy project after Santosh Sivan's "Asoka" and the lad puts up an impressive show.

Singer S. P. Balasubramaniam's physique helps him look every inch a magician. And his typical garb and headgear add to the effect, transporting one to a bygone era.

Aswini Kaul's cinematography and Sabu Cyril's art direction are the other alluring aspects of "Magic Magic" directed by Jose Punnoose. Jose, Rajeev Kumar and Raghunath Paleri are the storywriters, while the last mentioned has written the screenplay. Jagan and Sharath are the composers. The re-recording has obvious touches of famous melodies of yore. The loudness in the background music is probably intentional, but at times it is a bit too much. "Yaar Indha Kuttichaathaan ... " has foot-tapping beats that children would enjoy.

"I wish the film well," said the Governor. So do we.


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