The Lion King 2019 (Hindi) is a visually-enhanced version of the Disney classic of the ’90s and a masterpiece infused with several desi elements for cinema-lovers of the 21st century. Helmed by Jon Favreau, director of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ Disney's ‘The Lion King’ is scheduled to be released on July 19 in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
The original Lion King has been close to the heart for its plotline and cathartic moments but the stunning photorealistic animation in the newly released movie will make you fall for it once again. Hats off to the technology team who worked hard to make everything look extremely real. Whether its baby Simba playing with his friend Nala or water falling down the waterfall or even vicious hyenas – everything looks so realistic that there is absolutely no way to tell where the ‘live-action’ ends and the CGI animation begins. The hyper-realism technique used in the film will give you a feeling of watching a live animal show at National Geographic or a wildlife-documentary on Discovery.
Coming to the story, Disney India has decided to stick to the same tale but the decision to rope in Shah Rukh Khan, the 'king' of Bollywood, to voice Mufasa and his son Aryan Khan for Simba makes it must watch. While Aryan - who at times sound very much similar to his father - was impressive, some would feel that a more powerful voice for the 'king of jungle' would have been an icing on the cake. SRK's voice though enigmatic as always doesn't have the thunder or command of a king. However, its a treat in itself to listen to the father-son duo for the first time.
Talking about the story, Mufasa - the ruling righteous king of the jungle – dies in an accident conspired by his sinful brother Scar along with a group of hyenas. They even tried to kill Simba, the rightful heir to the throne, but he escapes. The story seems to get a little stretched but the entry of Timon and Pumbaa that comes as a comic relief brings it back to track. The dialogues of the duo infused with desi-elements will make you burst in laughter.
While the deserted cub, now a lion enjoys his life with friends (Timon and Pumbaa) his family and kingdom suffer under the rule of Scar. However, Nala manages to find Simba. After a lot of convincing by his childhood friend and Rafiki, an old mandrill that serves as Royal Mjuzi, Simba agrees to avenge his father's death and free his family and animals of 'prideland' (garvbhoomi) from the evil rule of Scar and striped hyenas.
Full marks go to the makers of the film for the best use of technology but a little more effort should have been put on Simmba's emotional transformation. Therefore, those who watched the original movie could not feel connected with the new version as in several parts it lacked the heart and nuances of the original story. However, The Lion King (2019) – with a runtime of 1 hour 58 minutes - is definitely a visually satisfying treat for those how haven’t watched the original movie. For the rest, the nostalgia of the 90s film will surely make a comeback.