Haathi Mere Saathi: Bollywood Animal Fantasy Drama

Haathi Mere Saathi: 2021 Bollywood Animal Fantasy Drama

Movie Name: Haathi Mere Saathi
Directed by: Prabu Solomon
Starring: Rana Daggubati, Vishnu Vishal, Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Zoya Hussain
Genre: DramaFantasy
Release Date: 26 March, 2021
Running Time: 150 Minutes

Haathi Mere Saathi in Hindi, Kaadan in Tamil and Aranya in Telugu is an upcoming Indian multilingual film directed by Prabu Solomon. It features Rana Daggubati, Vishnu Vishal, Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar and Zoya Hussain in the lead roles. The film is simultaneously being shot in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu with a different cast across languages. The conflict arises when a corporate giant threatens to destroy the jungle and the eco-system of elephants. A son of the soil, the protector of the forest, rises to protect his home – the forest. The animals and herd of elephants come to his rescue, will they succeed? The film is a tribute of sorts to the late legendary actor Rajesh Khanna but will have an entirely fresh story line. The film was announced on 13 December 2017 with the first look released on 1 January 2018.

The film began production when Prabhu Solomon wanted to bring the issue of elephant abuse to the light. Unnikrishnan, an elephant who played a role in Kumki 2, also plays a pivotal role in the film. Rana Daggubati shed 15 kilograms for this films by eating vegetarian food for six weeks. The makers initially announced Kalki Koechlin to play a role in the film. However, she was replaced by Shriya Pilgaonkar.

The film is scheduled to release on 26 March 2021.

The music for the film has been composed by Shantanu Moitra and lyrics written by Swanand Kirkire (Hindi version) and Vanamali (Telugu / Tamil version). The background score is composed by D. Imman.

Haathi Mere Saathi Movie Trailer:

Haathi Mere Saathi Movie Review:

Rana Daggubati is the stoic, saving grace of this middling man Vs animal drama

Imagine a boardroom full of powerful men, drawing up plans to build a sprawling, plush township surrounded by verdant greens. The irony is, they aim to do this by encroaching on a reserve forest zone. Director Prabhu Solomon’s trilingual film (Aranya in Telugu, Kaadan in Tamil and Haathi Mere Saathi in Hindi) is a relevant tale that has the potential to resonate with similar threats to ecologically sensitive zones in different parts of the country.

The film is also an indirect hat tip to Jadav Payeng, considered the Forest Man of India. Like Payeng, the on-screen jungle man is credited to have planted several thousand trees. Barring that similarity, the protagonist’s journey here is a fictional one. His real name, Narendra Bhupathi, is mentioned fleetingly. He’s better addressed as Aranya (Kaadan in Tamil). Having grown up in the lap of nature, he understands every call of a bird or animal and his conversations with the flora and fauna are fun.

The jungles are familiar terrain to Solomon. His earlier film Kumki (Gajaraju in Telugu) was a heartwarming story of a bond between a man and an elephant. The opening scenes of Aranya are in a similar space, drawing us into the dense forests and their many sights and sounds. Ashok Kumar’s camera and the sound design by Resul Pookutty set the stage for a visual and aural delight.

Solomon draws the battle lines between Aranya and the vested forces without wasting time. A minister (Ananth Mahadevan), a real estate firm and their many subordinates want to invade a reserve forest zone. Elephants are at the risk of losing their access to their most fundamental need — water. The forester will have none of it.

For a battle that’s so clear cut, the happenings are long drawn. Some things work — like the characterization of the jungle man. Rana plays the rugged forester, owning the peculiar gait and looking believable even in a gravity-defying Tarzan-like sequence. There’s an interesting history to this character. He’s no ordinary, poor man of the forest. His family has always lived in sync with nature and put ecology above everything else.

The portions where his unique traits are used against him are well played out. However, the film loses momentum quickly, embarking on a lopsided narrative of one man against all the hammy antagonists who bay for the elephants’ blood.

Sure, there’s the Naxal woman (Zoya Hussain) and reporter Arundhati (Shriya Pilgaonkar) who want the jungle to be protected, but their roles are limited.

The film has its moments. You can guess when an elephant will come in harm’s way and yet, when it happens, it shakes you up. When a herd of elephants go in search of water, it’s a desperate call for survival. One of the scenes from the final moments, which befits the Hindi title Haathi Mere Saathi, is equally moving.

But there are several loose ends. The subplot of romance between the partly-silly-partly-corrupt mahout Singha (Vishnu Vishal) and Zoya’s character is done away with after a point. A lone official who helps initially is nowhere in the picture later. A few characters that stay on, aren’t even made to do the most predictable things. Why does it take that long for an independent journalist to harness the power of social media?

Rana singularly tries to hold things together, trying to save the elephants as well as the film. He is all heart when he tries to win back the trust of the elephants. Shriya and Zoya are good, but there’s not much they can do with their under-developed characters.

There’s a dialogue where Rana says that animals know where to look for food and water according to the season, human beings don’t. The giants are superior creatures, and their cause deserved a better film.

Movie Songs:

Song Title: Shukriya
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Music Composer: Shantanu Moitra
Singer(s): Rituraj Mohanty

Song Title: Dheeme Dheeme
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Music Composer: Shantanu Moitra
Singer(s): Adriz Gosh

Song Title: Ae Hawa
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Music Composer: Shantanu Moitra
Singer(s): Javed Ali

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