Kolkata, 03 Jan 2019 13:00 IST
Adventures Of Jojo has a relatively simple storyline yet there are endearing twists through which Raj Chakraborty clearly conveys the importance of the co-existence of the wild and humans.
When it comes to making children’s films or writing children’s books, directors or authors often shift from their goals or often intentionally infuse subtexts or layered meanings to their creations. Raj Chakraborty remains strictly focussed and delivers a film that children can thoroughly relate to. He also delivers an important message on protecting mother nature that is necessary to inculcate in children, without getting preachy.
Jojo’s (Joshojit Banerjee) parents leave him in his uncle’s custody while they take Jojo’s grandmother for treatment. An upset Jojo becomes excited as his uncle (Padmanabha Dasgupta) promises him a trip to Jungle Safari in Borpahari forest, where he works and lives. Jojo is curious and has his own world of imaginary friends. His uncle too his concerned about wildlife and its conservation; he keeps on satisfying Jojo’s curiosity about nature.
Jojo wastes no time in going out in the jungle as soon as he reaches his uncle’s home and makes new friends Shibu (Samiul Alam) and Nani, an elephant. One day, despite being warned by his nerd cousins, who are only concerned about getting good marks in the exams, Jojo, along with Shibu and Nani, steps into the core area of the forest and finds out the carcass of a tiger. Soon they learn that poachers, who have killed the tiger, are after Chenghis, the largest tiger of Borpahari forest. Saddened and shaken by the incident, Jojo and Shibu appoint themselves as the protectors of the animals and vow to save Chenghis from the poachers at any cost.
Jojo and Shibu complement each other and truly fit as children’s heroes. While Jojo is a smart urban kid, Shibu has been portrayed as a fearless boy from the lap of nature, who never misses a target with his slingshot. Though forest ranger officers are there to arrest the poachers, it is the duo that keep their fight on till they make sure Chenghis is not in danger.
The villains Munia Hajari (Rudranil Ghosh) and the businessman (Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee), who are desperate to sell the hide of Chenghis, are stereotypical negative characters without many shades. They never resort to extreme violence. Munia Hajari wants to be the king of the forest and wishes to finish his only rival Chenghis.
On the one hand, Chakraborty depicts the stark reality of poachers taking advantage of local people’s financial crisis and engaging them in the illegal activity. On the other hand, he subtly sends out messages through the characters of Jojo’s nerd cousins and puts emphasis on practical knowledge that is more relevant in life rather than knowledge that is solely obtained from academics.
However, the chapter of Tobu and Notobor and their connection with Nani and Shibu don’t come across clear. Also, during the climax, the forest ranger officer could have avoided killing the poachers in an open encounter.
Soumik Halder and Manas Ganguly capture the abundance of nature beautifully that contains the potential to amaze the minds of both children and adults alike. Their camerawork through the forest makes the adventures of Jojo real. The visual effects and the animations never appear to be superficial.
Joshojit Banerjee is quite confident in delivering expressions at the appropriate moments. Padmanabha Dasgupta is to be given credit for writing an engaging script that saves the child actors from delivering empty expressions bereft of physical movements. As a smart and fearless kid, Banerjee is quite natural and convincing.
Samiul Alam with his large eyes fits well in his ragged image. His natural accent also adds a dimension to his character. He is a bit flat while expressing sorrow of separation from his friend or during the death of one of the tigers.
Dasgupta and the actor, who plays the forest ranger officer, deliver decent performances. Manali Dey is quite dramatic in the tense moments.
Rudranil Ghosh transforms himself well into the shrewd Munia Hajari. He is extremely dramatic, fierce, yet when it comes to facing Chenghis, his vulnerability becomes apparent. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee matches his performance as the fellow villain with apt facial caricatures.
Indraadip Dasgupta’s background score never overpowers the narrative and his composition 'Jojor Gaan' by Arijit Singh adds a different flavour that lifts the mood of Jojo’s journey to Borpahari forest.
Adventures Of Jojo has a relatively simple storyline yet there are endearing twists through which Chakraborty clearly conveys the importance of the co-existence of the wild and humans. Also, Chakraborty has turned Dasgupta’s script into a compact film where the pace never drops. The film equally explores the natural beauty of Borpahari forest through the eyes of Jojo and also makes sure that the audience feel the thrill till the end.
Adventures Of Jojo is an honest film and its success lies in its inherent innocence.
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