You know that an animated feature film has done its job when the auditorium is filled with the sound of young children breaking into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Perhaps all intellectual debate regarding the technical aspects of the film can rest at this point because the target audience clearly had a great time at the first screening of the film in Karachi last evening.
We attended the premiere of Sharmeen Obaid’s 3 Bahadur: The Revenge of Baba Balaam and naturally, we had some opinions of our own as well. The film is about three children who have superpowers which have been given to them to fight against evil. Thankfully, the film immediately jumps into action without wasting too much time.
We learn that all is well in the neighbourhood as peace is being maintained by Saadi, Amna and Kamil, who are best friends. Unfortunately, trouble begins when a conflict arises between Kamil, the hot headed youngster who is unable to deal with defeat, and his other two best friends. The conflict keeps growing and eventually, evil forces start to take advantage of the rift between them to the point where all hell breaks loose and the world is on the verge of becoming completely evil. It’s interesting how the film has interpreted this apocalyptic theme which every other film is doing nowadays. We won’t give it away here but you should watch the film to see how they portrayed it in a way that a child would understand. My 7 year old nephew was my point of reference during the entire film so I can say for sure that he was intently following all the moral lessons being put out.
As someone who has watched a fair share of Pakistani films this year, I have to say that this was one of the most engaging films I have seen in 2016. As a viewer, I did not lose interest long enough to say that the film is boring or should have been shorter, a critique we hear quite often for Pakistani films in general. The conflicts were justified: we were able to relate to the children and why they were fighting amongst themselves. Nothing seemed forced or contrived. There were parallel stories running simultaneously and they all converged together seamlessly towards the end.
Also, having big stars voice the characters was an added bonus. Fahad Mustafa, Sarwat Gillani, Behroze Subzwari, Ali Gul Pir, Ahmed Ali Butt and Khalid Malik all brought their characters to life; some artists did such a good job with characterizations that their voices were almost unrecognizable.
However, I do have my reservations regarding two important technical aspects of the film. First of all, can we please, please work on how we include advertisers in our films? Thankfully, Sharmeen managed to incorporate McDonald’s and Bank Alfalah intelligently but Olper’s went overboard, and judging by the roaring applause from the Olper’s team in the cinema hall every time their name appeared on screen, it seems as though they don’t realize that over branding is really the worst kind of branding. My nephew immediately took us to McDonald’s after the film but didn’t ask for a glass of milk (okay I’m just kidding here.)
Secondly, the level of animation can be improved. Considering 3 D animation is relatively new in Pakistan and we are still learning, the film looks great. I’m hopeful that as more and more 3 D animated films start being produced in Pakistan, we will be able to match international standards as well.
Conclusion: It’s a must watch for those who love animated films and for those who have children.