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Feature Film

“Dehli Safari” trailer

Another year, another late-in-the-season animated release from India. This time: Dehli Safari, India’s first stereoscopic 3D animated feature. Mashing concepts from Madagascar, Open Season with Rio, and using animation a few notches below that of Valiant, it’s been dubbed into English by actors Cary Elwes, Brad Garrett, Christopher Lloyd, Jason Alexander, Tom Kenny, Vanessa Williams and… say it ain’t so… Jane Lynch(!). It’s now playing in Irvine California (Edwards Westpark 8). Quick, catch it before it disappears forever.

(Thanks, Eric Graf)

  • Julian Carter

    I’m less bothered by the animation than I am by the character design. In any case, this was probably made on a budget, and as such is technically acceptable.

    I don’t like the dialogue, though. I wonder if the Indian-language version is more intelligent-sounding (to someone who understands it) or whether the translation has simply retained the generic, boring lines of the original screenplay.

    Do we know which animation house produced this? I don’t suppose it’s Prana Animation?

  • Sotiris

    There’s one thing I don’t get with Indian-produced animation. When they are producing for American studios like DisneyToon or DreamWorks, the animation is very good but when they are producing for domestic projects like this one, the animation is awful. Why is that? Is it just a budget issue?

    • Ed

      My guess is Quality Control and Direction, but mostly budget lol.

    • Could be that the better-skilled animators are too busy working on outsourced larger-studio projects or the pay isn’t as good/dependable.

    • Arvind

      We have to work in very tight budget and deadlines. Very less money and time is spent on Research. Very few people are skilled enough. Most of the studios in India are doing mindless outsourced work. And average salaries are around $200-500. You have to struggle a lot if you are an animator in India.

      • Outsource

        Is that $200-$500 per year?

        • Arvind

          no its per month

  • Sotiris

    Jerry, do you know if this movie is eligible for this year’s Oscars? Do you know if it will be submitted for consideration?

  • Toonio

    So the cute tiger from the TV commercial got his own movie?

  • edelillus

    Did anyone catch the nods to Lion King and Fern Gully?

  • Eric Graf

    Well I went and saw the thing. The version playing in Irvine is the original Indian soundtrack with dubtitles ( that disappear during the musical numbers, making the story hard to follow in places). Either I, as an American, am culturally unable to appreciate the film’s merits, or it hasn’t got any.

    The swipes (I hesitate to call them tributes) from American animation are relentless, and the character design doesn’t improve a bit during the longer running time, but it’s the dreadful script, coupled with the preachy, humorless tone that really does the thing in. It doesn’t reach the spectacular ineptness of “The lion of Judah”, but it gets in the ballpark.

    The death of the cub’s dad is onscreen, and combines the scariest elements of Simba’s dad, Bambi’s mom, and the Ferngully tree chopping monster. That’ll be a hard sell to western audiences.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Well at least they had the balls to do a death scene at all and not shy away from the awfulness of it.

      • Outsource

        I”m more impressed they had the balls to make such an Ugly movie.

  • Baron Lego

    I got a better title for this thing:

    “The Incredible Journey of Smokey the Bear, the Lion Queen, the Monkeys of Madagascar and the Parrot from Rio vs Fern Gully. With musical numbers.”

  • Julian

    On a 3D animation scale with Pixar being on the high end, movies like “Tarzan” and “Dino Time” being in the middle, and complete mock busters from Video Brinquedo, Sparkplug, and whoever made that biohazard “Life’s a Jungle” on the low end, I would put this somewhere between the middle and low end, probably closer to the middle. This, to me, is actually an improvement considering most of those atrocities India has brought us over the last 10 years when it comes to animation. Heck just search for some preschool video on Youtube, click the first result by some channel with a Hindu username, and prepare for your computer to crash.

    • wever

      The dub actors seems to really want to improve the acting, judging by the trailer. All perform their lines perfectly synced to the mouth movements from what little I see, so props to the translator and director on that.

  • Indian sensibilities are different from western ones.I m not sure if it carries the same weight in the English version.Just like an Indian wont share the same enthusiasm over killing zombies with their western counterpart.I wont say that they haven’t borrowed from Hollywood films,comparing it with Rio wont be right because the film was ready 3 years ago,much before Rio was released.For some reasons it didn’t find distributors.The monkey characters in this film are not like the lemurs from Madagascar.There have been films with monkeys before Madagascar, but I wont say that they copied their monkey characters from some film released before.The film takes a bunch of animals protesting against habitat destruction to New Delhi ,which I find (in my personal opinion) more relevant than Pixar’s Cars. Which they are following up with Planes which they might just follow up by Boats or Bicycles.I hope Blue skies stops producing more Ice age sequels before the next ice age comes. Wasn’t James Cameron’s avatar ripped off from Pocahontas ? But I guess its ok if he does it.I prefer Japanese animation over western animation because its more interesting and relies less on a tried and tested formula.
    Yes,India produces a low quality animation films but the same country has done decent work on a lot of Hollywood blockbusters.I can understand that everyone has the hard on for us right now.When the industry outsources from an even cheaper places, lets say Africa, Indian animation professionals will say the same thing.The Producers running the show care more about the almighty buck than storytelling.

    • Dushyant

      Haha..that’s so true my friend u nailed it…:)

      This is much better film from the last one’s that made in india…considering the budget.

    • sebastian zegers

      of course, we hate dumb neverending sequels, and of course holliwood is not always at its brightest.

      but to say that japanese animation doesnt rely on formula as much as holliwood,doesnt sound very right to me.
      i mean, most commercial anime follows a VERY strict genre formula, even if its fresher in some aspects. and character design-wise, all shonen uses the same basic arquetypes.

      i guess in all markets you can find people trying to push the boundaries of subject matter, and people just going with the trend, catching an easy wave..

      • Completely agree with you about Japanese animation relying on a formula.I used the word ‘less’ for that exact reason.Most commercial animations(it can be from anywhere in the world) rely on a formula.I like the festival circuit for that very reason.Most people take Disney style animation as the norm to judge any film against.Which is not fair since Disney produces from a formula and has throws its weight around to make more money than they already have.
        What is not right ,is that every time some thing comes out of India its completely written off.As a result ,sides are drawn on both sides.I have worked in India and the west and I sincerely feel that people on both sides of the globe are equally gifted.

  • Dear animation Enthusiast ,
    Kindly hear this with ears open.
    We see hundreds of movies ,some stay in our heart because of the story and the visual power and some Disappear the moment we walk out from the theatre hall.
    We as indians, we saw this new technique of animation and tried learning it the harder way and we are still trying to understand more of its magical possibilities.
    western/european animation has definitely gone places as they had their disney to teach them or at least create a platform for them to learn the technique thoroughly.
    i am not asking for sympathies , we as a country have immense skills and talented story tellers and artists,its just that the economic state here is low and the appreciation for art from the buck makers is zero.they all wanna make money(yes we all wanna make money)..but .can we raise the standards of story telling and skill level by exchanging or having a get together of great artists from the western animation environment coming over and spending time in india or vice versa and giving their inputs and help make animation grow globally.
    I think its our Responsiblity to think about this seriously rather than just commenting and satisfying our ego .

    Common guys its time to act mature…please..
    In positive sense and with good heart:)

  • Mat H

    This is actually great reference for students of animation to look at. Its not often you see unpolished work where you can see how the key poses have failed.

  • Nikhil Nair

    did anyone notice its far much better than toy story 1 ! ..yep wait for some time India will be creating some mindblowing animations bad that it has become a trend ..if it’s india start cursing them, without considering anything !

  • M. Danby

    In no universe is this movie remotely close to TS 1. That is just deaf dumb and blind optimism speaking.

    • axolotl

      A lot of Indian live-action movies are pretty terrible, I’ll admit, but there are some really good ones. The Indian animation industry is still young, I imagine that eventually they’ll come out with some good animated movies.

  • Wow. This is pretty bad animation wise and I know why:

    The experience with the medium isn’t strong enough yet and the art direction isn’t focused on compensating for the inexperience. Instead the art direction is focused on trying to emulate larger productions done by larger, more experienced teams. I feel that -instead of trying to emulate larger productions- it would be better to adopt a different art style until production tools get to a point where the imagery can be closer at a lower cost. But that’s more of an opinion than a subjective plan for fixing the problems.