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The Lion King review Hindi version: Shah Rukh Khan – Aryan Khan’s majestic Disney treat is an absolute delight for all generations

The Lion King review: Pride Lands get their new King in Simba and Bollywood gets its new Prince in Aryan Khan!



A still from The Lion King

Star rating:

The Lion King
 Shah Rukh Khan (Mufasa), Aryan Khan (Simba), Neha Gargava (Nala), Ashish Vidyarthi (Scar), Shernaz Patel (Sarabi), Asrani (Zazu), Shreyas Talpade (Timon), Sanjay Mishra (Pumba), Achint Kaur (Shenzi)
Director: Jon Favreau
Producer: Walt Disney Pictures and Fairview Entertainment
Run time: 118 minutes

Most of us were kids when the animated classic The Lion King first released in 1994. However, it was a movie that was lapped up and loved across all ages and generations. The film, its beautiful message and the story, all struck a chord. Ever since, the movie holds a special place for most of us no matter what generation we belong to. It is easily one of the most-loved Disney tales of all times. Inspite of the animals in their animated versions, each character felt humane. There was also always a niggling thought, perhaps a childish hope, of how it would be to see real animals in a film like that.

Well, now 25 years later, Disney has done just that. They are set to present the same old story in a completely new and technically-enhanced package, where the simple 2D animation has given way to a CGI photo-realistic remake. That means simply put: A dream come true of seeing, real characters as good as live animals, in the film.

Directed by Jon Favreau (best-remembered for 2016’s Jungle Book), this retelling uses 3D animation, motion-capture, and virtual reality tools (VRT) and is aimed to appeal to the Gen Next and become a part of their childhood, just the way the original had become a part of our fondest memories. With that in mind, Disney has re-served us with the most delightful treat from their menu.

What’s more, the Hindi version boasts of voices by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who commands his own loyal following, and teaming up here with him is his son Aryan Khan. While the comparisons with the classic 1994 version are inevitable, the Hindi version is also that much more exciting to watch out for because of these two names.

Well, technically this is not the first time that the father-son duo has teamed up to lend their voices for an animation (They did it for the Hindi version of The Incredibles, 2004 too). But that was Aryan Khan as a kid. This one comes at a time when all eyes are on him as he is on the brink of stepping in his father King Khan’s shoes as a star in Bollywood. Lion King anyone? So how does the duo fare in this tech-advanced Lion King? And does the film itself live up to the classic? Read on to find out:

What The Lion King is all about:

It is essentially the same story as the original, with a few changes. Mufasa is the kind and just King of the Pride Lands of the African Savannahs, who instills the same sense of responsibility in his young son. Mufasa and Sarabi’s cub Simba is the crown prince and the rightful heir to the throne of Pride Rock and the father-son share a most loving relationship. Mufasa’s trusted minister is the loyal hornbill Zazu.

Mufasa’s greedy, envious and power-hungry brother Scar with the help of Shenzi and the other hyenas plot the king’s death and succeed too. Having killed Mufasa, Scar makes his nephew believe that the King had died while trying to save Simba and so his death was the young cub’s fault. Playing on Simba’s guilt, Scar gets him to run away from Pride Rock. Too lazy to chase, the hyenas lie to Scar that Simba has been killed and devoured.

Simba leaves behind his mother and best friend Nala, who are falsely made to believe that Simba had died in the Wildebeest stampede at the gorge where Mufasa too had lost his life while saving him. Scar soon becomes the King of Pride Rock and lifts all the hunting rules. The luscious Pride Lands become a hunting ground of the hyenas who with their unchecked hunts soon turn the land near-barren and drive the animals away.

Time moves on. Simba having befriended Pumba (warthog) and Timon (meerkat) grows up in another part of a jungle. They believe in the philosophy of ‘Hakuna Matata’ meaning ‘no worries’. One day he meets Nala, who has run away from the pride in search of help. She tells him all about their poor conditions back home at Pride Lands. Also, the wise Rafiki learns that Simba is still alive and seeks him out. Simba soon realises that he needs to own up the responsibility of being Mufasa’s son and claim his place in the ‘circle of life’. How he returns to face Scar and reclaim what’s rightfully his forms the remaining story.


First things first: SRK and Aryan Khan! Well, it would be unfair to compare SRK’s Mufasa to James Earl Jones’ Mufasa from the original or the new one. We say this because some of the dialogues have a different impact when spoken in two different languages. SRK’s Mufasa comes across as a gentler and milder King than the thundering, more-in-power Mufasa of James Earl. But nonetheless SRK is impressive. He has tried to modulate his voice and further add a deeper base to lend it that regal touch. Aryan sounds just like his dad in terms of the vocal quality though the dialogue delivery is not the same. He does justice to Simba, sounds charming and emotes well with his voice.

As for the rest, Asrani’s Zazu is far better than the English version! The veteran adds his characteristic touches to the character and not a dull moment with him around. Ashish Vidyarthi as the shrewd and embittered Scar and Achint as the Shenzi are fantastically evil and bring that about through their voice-overs convincingly. Shreyas and Sanjay Mishra together are a hoot. They infuse their characters with energy and fun and lift the narrative brilliantly in the second half. The rest of the voice-cast are strictly okay.

The dubbing is done well and there’s nothing lost in translation here thankfully. The film scores high on music and hits the right notes, not an easy task, considering that the film boasts of one of the best musical scores ever. Sunidhi Chauhan and Armaan Malik get it just right. The song, I just can’t wait to be king (Main Raja Banna Chaahoon) is an absolute delight to watch and thoroughly enjoyable. The kids will love it. Hakuna Matata, of course, is an all-time favourite!

The film is meant to be a visual delight and truly the photo-realistic effects and enhanced computer animation is top-notch. They bring alive the childhood experience making it seem more real. From every strand of the animals’ fur to the dew droplet on the spider’s web, every bit of it looks unbelievably real. It is fantastic on those counts.

The film has the right mix of emotions. From action to drama to romance, there are some highly impactful scenes tapping each of these emotions beautifully. Among the highlights is the stunningly shot fight scene between Scar and Simba in the climax. Mufasa’s death scene with Simba trying to wake him up is again beautifully shot and will get you all emotional. Also the scene where Simba steps into his dad’s pawprint is a moment! The jostle between two hyenas for personal space will leave you in splits. Timon and Pumba have the funniest lines and Pumba taking on the body-shaming bullies is a hilarious scene. It’s a tried and tested story so that clearly works again. It keeps you hooked for the entire 118 minutes.


What didn’t work for us at all was hearing the hyenas talk in a Bihari accent. Like how many times does Bollywood have to resort to the Bihari accent to infuse some fun in the otherwise villainish characters. Quite a turn off really! Also giving Timon and Pumba a tapori twang! Again predictable! Not that Shreyas and Sanjay don’t do a good job, but just the same tried and tested accents being passed off for humour is not done anymore. Every second animated show on TV is using the same two accents heavily. Sorry, but doesn’t click here at all and we’re sure the kids won’t be amused either!

Also, inspite of the amazing 3D animation the film’s characters are not able to convey the larger gamut and the wide range of expressions as they did in the original. We are sure even the best of technology comes with its limitations and we get a glimpse of it here. Also in some very few parts to see real animals speak like actual humans and not mime the animals is a teeny-weeny bit creepy. Like the scene where Mufasa falls off the rocks, you’d expect the lion to roar and not scream ‘Aaaa’ like humans, right?

CineBlitz Verdict: 

The film is a beautiful, and heart-warming, emotional story of love, loss, courage and finding one’s own path in the circle of life! The father-son relationship will tug at your heart-strings. SRK and Aryan are an added bonus here for sure adding their lion’s share of entertainment! Bollywood, get ready to welcome Prince Khan. Aryan holds much promise and yes, King Khan has every reason to be proud. We have every reason to watch out for this youngster follow in his dad’s footsteps soon.

A beautiful message at the core, The Lion King is a majestic leonine experience and a wholesome family entertainer that will once again appeal to all ages. It is an absolute delight for kids. While the original holds its forte, the retelling also comes with its own charm, making it a must-watch! So, yes, the lions will rule your hearts yet again with The Lion King.