3 Bahadur: A Movie Review

By Samreen Ali
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Children are a tough customer. If at the end of an animated movie, the gang of children you went with, that too of varying ages, and already spoiled by the likes of the Madagascar or Shrek series, can declare 3 Bahadur a first class entertainer, then hands down, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has achieved the equivalent of yet another Oscar!

Granted, it is no classic – but a sassy script, and good-natured sequences make this a catchy entertainer  for both young and old.

Indeed, 3 Bahadur is a family-friendly animated comedy-cum-action movie from co-producers Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Salman Iqbal and Jerjees Seja. It  is predicated on a single premise: that a bunch of over-confident street kids, who fancy themselves quite the Avengers, manage to find superpowers in their sheer determination and inner belief, wriggling out of the trickiest of situations, not only to survive, but to thrive and actually save the day!

The pace of the film is zany, with rapid-fire jokes and humour; the sight gags are so inspiring that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the infectious energy of it all! The script, credited to Kamran Khan, finds enough avenues into that one dream we all have of ridding ourselves of corruption, to make the premise seem enjoyable, if not consistently fresh.

 Given the low bar set by our pre-conceived notions quality of animation, this Harry-Potter-inspired superhero send-up comes as a happy surprise. Yes, the pacing ends up dragging here and there, but the surprisingly sharp humor and well-animated action sequences ought to do the job of holding everyone’s attention.

Source : Dawn News

We begin in Roshan Basti, where hundreds of families live in dilapidated conditions under the merciless, harsh rule of street thug, Mangu and his gang. Mangu is a particularly delightful villain, given life by the skilled voice of Khalid Ahmed. The three superheroes, Amna, Saadi and Kamil, are very relatable 11-year-old Pakistani youngsters. Saadi is the sensitive, brooding one whose past is mysteriously connected to Mangu; Kamil, the goofy one always worried about his stomach making grunting noises who is very useful in a pinch. And Amna, the brains of the operation; smart and fiery, Amna always keeps a level head in coming up with an action plan. The trio is up against an extraordinarily evil man out for unlimited power.

 

What makes 3 Bahadur even more refreshing is the twist in the plot with a Pakistani makeover. Background scenes and buildings are inspired by monuments of our cities. For instance, Mangu’s hideout is a tower that looks strikingly similar to Karachi’s Merewether Clock Tower; with the townspeople dressed mostly in shalwar kameez. Antics and lingo of people is characteristically Pakistani, making the characters even more lovable. Some of the side gigs and jokes are such that only a Pakistani can truly appreciate them. For example, there is an Aunty who thinks it is her God-given right to cut queues; and another who ironically berates a man for getting in her way as she throws out her trash where it is expressly forbidden to do so.

In the midst of it all, are 2 talisman keys and their 2 keepers – one good, and one evil, granting respective superpowers to the characters.

Basically from here, it is all about the superheroes versus the evil villains, in a series of wild action sequences! The film has great lessons for children: it strengthens the fact that anything is possible when one takes a stand against adversity and evil. Our children needed some local heroes with whom they could relate in their daily lives. They needed that belief that we Pakistanis can do amazing things if we really want to, whether it is international-level-quality animation, or defeating the bad guys. Finally, our children have local heroes that they can be proud of!

Sharmeen Obaid stated that “3 Bahadur is not just a movie. It is a movement. The message we’re sending with this film is that ‘We shall overcome.’ Like these 3 kids (film ke characters), we can face the challenges that come our way. You don’t need to be a superhero. You ARE a superhero.”

 On a side note, the blatant product placement (typical of Pakistan’s film and drama industry), takes a bit away from the film’s appeal. Store shutters and walls in Andher Basti are painted with the logos of the film’s sponsors, and leaves a sour note in an otherwise slick graphic presentation.
The animation, which is the film’s main brag, is very Shrek-like in the beginning. And unlike most cartoons produced in Pakistan, the characters in 3 Bahadur are able to demonstrate a wide range of expressions – their lips ACTUALLY form the words they utter, and their body movement are quite fluid.

At the end of it all, the children’s adventures are amusing, nobody’s intelligence is insulted and everyone walks out happy. That is accomplishment enough to celebrate, any time! During an exhausting holiday week, it deserves a little extra gratitude.  So, if you’re running around doing your holiday shopping, and looking for brief respite, you will be glad you went for a ride with Amna, Saadi and Kamal.

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About Samreen Ali

Samreen Farooqui holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, with a vast experience in brand management. Currently she is a stay at home mom and a freelance writer, working towards developing a centre for autistic kids in Karachi. Her areas of interest are highlighting the true heroes, books and gastronomy reviews.

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