There’s always something tricky about animated message films like India’s 3-D Delhi Safari, which tells the story of a group of animals trekking from Mumbai to Delhi in hopes of persuading humans to stop tearing down the jungle. Out of the mistaken belief that the cartoon sugarcoating means the moralizing should be amped up, filmmakers often forget the importance of telling an engaging story. See: The Mystical Laws. (Better yet, don’t see it, because The Mystical Laws is horrible.) Although its message is never subtle, Delhi Safari is fun enough to earn the right to preach. Originally in both Hindi and English, this domestic version features an all-English-language cast led by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic‘s Tara Strong, and beyond the redubbing there are (thankfully) no real attempts to hide the movie’s origins. The Bollywood-style dance numbers are showstoppers, and though it would have been simple to change bits of the dialogue to things American children would be more likely to recognize—replacing “Parliament” with “Congress,” say—Delhi Safari remains faithful to its Indian setting. (Extra credit goes to director Nikhil Advani for giving himself a cameo wearing a FCUK T-shirt.) “Share the world,” indeed.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 5, 2012