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Disney's Timeless Classic Ruined


Film: The Beauty & The Beast (in Hindi), Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Directed by Bill Condon; Rating: **(2 Stars)

Whoever thought of dubbing the new Disney interpretation of the timeless classic 'The Beauty & The Beast' into Hindi, should know what we know.

That the beauty of the tale has indeed been turned into a beast by what can only be termed creative vandalism. And if anyone from Disney is reading this, please note: your beautiful work of art has been desecrated and defiled by being dubbed into Hindi.

Imagine, dubbing 'Life Is Beautiful' into Bhojpuri or 'Pakeezah' into Tamil. And you will obtain a measure of travesty scaled in the Hindi version of The Beauty & The Beast.

You don't do that to Alan Menken's delicate melodies... No no, God, you don't! This is worse than Mona Lisa's smile being adorned with additional laugh lines. Or a few extra storeys being added to the Eiffel Tower to accommodate tourists who might want to spend the night on top of the monument, in exchange of a handsome fee.

For extra money, you don't desecrate excellence.

By all means Bill Condon's new variation on the age-old fable of a spirited girl who tames and transforms an accursed 'beast' by her love, is as joyous and welcoming as anything that Disney has done in the past. The fairytale is fuelled by a dazzling workmanship.

The pastiche of colours applied to the scenes is flamboyant and yet reined-in exuding an expunged exuberance. The frames are painted with the fastidious elegance of intricate embroidery on a marvellously smooth piece of cloth

Nothing in 'The Beauty & The Beast' surprises. Everything dazzles. The images in the castle where the once-handsome but arrogant prince (Dan Stevens) is perched on a prosthetic melancholia is buoyed by streams of animated household articles, like a motherly pot and fashionable wardrobe. The special effects are exceptional in their versatility and vibrancy. The 'Beast' and his castle come alive to the sound of music.

Which reminds me of Emma Watson's Julie Andrews act from 'The Sound Of Music'. Her communion with Nature in the opening scenes indeed recalls the earlier classic, though Watson by no means touches the pinnacle of self-surrender to her environment to rival Andrews.

In fact Watson's performance as the pert and pretty Belle is strangely bereft of passion, though that is exactly the quality which is supposed to set the screen ablaze.

Dan Steven's bestial lover-act is credible, but hardly awe-inspiring. While Luke Evans plays Belle's hankering suitor with an arrogant pride, it is Josh Gad as Evans' gay sidekick and Kevin Kline as Belle's Dad who thunder across the narrative's impassioned canvas with a conviction that augurs well for the film's epic tone. Emma Watson, I found to be somewhat lacking in passion.

It's the songs and music performed with such tender romanticism that lend a texture of tactile emotionalism to the storytelling. By translating the songs into Hindi for the Hindi version of the film, the think-tank behind the dubbed monstrosity has reduced the epic yarn to a mockery.

There ought to be laws about how far you can take the yen to penetrate optimum viewership without compromising with the original product. The beauty, I am afraid, is sacrificed to the beast of avarice.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 17 2017. 22:28 IST