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Roadside Romeo

Promotional Poster for the film
Directed by Jugal Hansraj
Produced by Aditya Chopra
Yash Chopra
Walt Disney International India
Written by Jugal Hansraj
Starring Saif Ali Khan
Kareena Kapoor
Jaaved Jaffrey
Music by Score:
Salim-Sulaiman
Lyrics:
Jaideep Sahni
Distributed by Yash Raj Films
Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) 23 October 2008:
Kuwait[1]
24 October 2008:
India, United Kingdom, United States
Running time 93 min[2]
Country India
US
Language Hindi
English
Budget US$7 million (Rs. 34.77 crore)[3]

Roadside Romeo (Hindi: रोडसाइड रोमियो) is a 2008 computer-animated film written and directed by Jugal Hansraj and produced by Aditya Chopra and Yash Chopra of Yash Raj Films.[4] A co-production of India's Yash Raj and the United States' Walt Disney Pictures,[5] it was released on 24 October 2008 in those respective countries.

Released and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, it is the second Bollywood movie to receive a North American release by a Hollywood studio,[6] following Sony Pictures' Saawariya (2007), and preceding Warner Bros.' Chandni Chowk to China.[6]

The title character, a dog living in the city of Mumbai, is voiced by Saif Ali Khan. His girlfriend, Laila, is voiced by Kareena Kapoor. Neither of them had previously appeared in an animated production.[7]

The film utilizes computer animation done entirely in India by Tata Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs (VCL) unit.[5][8] Prior to Romeo, the Pentamedia company was involved in the making of India's first CGI features, released in 2000: Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists and Pandavas: The Five Warriors. Roadside Romeo has been nominated for Outstanding Animation in an Animated Motion Picture at the 2009 Visual Effects Society Awards.

Contents

Plot

Romeo (voice of Saif Ali Khan) is a dog who once lived in luxurious surroundings. One day his owners decide to migrate to London and he is left at the mercy of the servant of the house, who dumps him on the street. Left to fend for himself, he is soon cornered by the local gang — Guru, Interval, Hero English and a dog-wannabe cat, Mini — who tell him that this is their domain. Romeo does not know the street lingo and is at a loss for words at first, but he manages to win the gang over with the idea of setting up a business.

Together, they set up a successful dog-grooming business until Chhainu (Sanjai Mishra), the right hand of gangster-dog Charlie Anna (Javed Jaffrey), arrives to collect "hafta" (weekly protection money) in the form of bones. Romeo throws Chhainu out, and the others, terrified, go to Charlie to plead their case. Charlie threatens them with his trio of ninja dogs, whom he calls his Angels (prompting him to crack a "Charlie's Angels" joke), but Romeo tricks Charlie into allowing his friends to leave unhurt.

Romeo meets Laila (Kareena Kapoor), who is singing on a rooftop, and falls in love. To win her over, Laila tells Romeo he must dance with her in front of everyone at the "Moonlight Club" where she performs. Romeo says yes, unaware that Charlie Anna has long wanted her, and anyone who dares go near her is dealt with severely. However, Romeo braves the odds and dances with Laila to win her heart. Love blossoms, enraging Charlie, who captures and terrorizes Romeo. Thinking quickly, Romeo promises that he make Laila fall in love with Charlie.

Romeo does not intend to lose Laila, but plans to deflate Charlie's ego by having a disguised Mini pretend to be Laila and make it clear she's not interested. This works, but only exacerbates Charlie's ire, forcing Romeo to promise him a second meeting with Laila. The night of the appointment, however, Chhainu catches Romeo kissing Laila, who then learns of Romeo's deal with Charlie and angrily says she never wants to see him again. A furious Charlie and his Angels chase Romeo and the gang, capturing them. However, the three Angels are wooed by Guru, Interval and Hero English and Charlie is chased and caught by the city dog catchers. In the end, Romeo's selflessness saves Charlie Anna from the dog catcher; the two become friends, and Charlie himself brings Laila to Romeo in a train boxcar scene reminiscent of a similar, famous scene in the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, causing Charlie Anna to remark, "Where have I seen this before?" In a dance number at the end, Romeo shows his left arm tattooed with Laila's name.

"Bloopers" follow during the end credits.

Cast

  • Saif Ali Khan as Romeo, a small cute looking pet of a super rich human family. He is a real good looking guy and he makes sure everyone around him thinks so too! He lives the good life. He has got a butler waiting on him, the best food to eat, a grand car to go out in and plenty of super rich friends. He is extremely popular with the ladies, he is a big flirt! He is very savvy and smart. When fate lands him in a slum, after his initial disappointment, he smooth talks his way out of trouble. He finds himself to be more intelligent than the average street guy and he takes full advantage of this fact to turn things around to his benefit. He thinks nothing of lying just to get what he wants.
  • Kareena Kapoor as Laila, the lead singer and dancer at the Moonlight Nightclub. This is where all the males throng every week when she performs. There isn't a male guy alive in the slum who doesn't dream of dancing with the beautiful, Laila some day. In spite of the large list of admirers, Laila is a lonely girl. Charlie Anna, the Don of the slum, is besotted by her and everyone is terrified of his anger. The consequences of just talking to Laila can be fatal and due to this, she has no friends. The girls are jealous of her and the guys are scared of Charlie‛s wrath. She dreams of finding a sweet, honest and brave guy who will have the courage to be friends with her and dance with her.
  • Javed Jaffrey as Charlie Anna, the dreaded Don of the slum. Anna means big brother and that is what everyone calls him out of fear. He is the cause of fear in everyone's heart. He is dirty, fat and ugly, with a big bouncy belly. Charlie Anna is a pompous old fool who loves nothing more than hearing his praises. His moods are unpredictable and that is what makes him dangerous, yet at heart he is a hopeless romantic.
  • Vrajesh Hirjee as Guru, the oldest and wisest among the four goons. The other three members always look up to him for advice.
  • Kiku Sharda as Hero English, one of the four goons. He is a typical goon, a ruffian but a bit slow in the head, just like his three friends. Though he looks ferocious, he is a harmless chap. He has been born and brought up in this slum. Even though he has no clue, he is always trying to speak in English, to a very comical effect.
  • Suresh Menon as Interval, the third member of the gang. He is a total film buff.
  • Tanaaz Currim Irani as Mini, the last member of the gang of four. Mini is actually an alley cat who is a wannabe stray dog. She looks up to Guru, Hero English and Interval and wants to be just like them. She is in denial that she is a cat. She refuses to accept that and thinks of herself as a stray dog much to the annoyance of her three friends who keep trying to drill some sense into her that she is no dog, but just an ordinary alley cat.
  • Sanjay Mishra as Chhainu, Charlie Anna's official spy. He is the yes man. A slimy character, he reports the goings on of the slum to Charlie. He is also responsible for reminding all to pay up their weekly protection money to Charlie on pay day.

Production

Development

A fan of animation, Jugal Hansraj teamed up with Aditya Chopra to write their first cartoon. Nothing came of the collaboration, the writer/director recalls, "till this one day, I was waiting at the traffic signal and saw these dogs playing in the dirt...uncared for, scruffy looking gang, totally mast in a garbage pile, and I instantly knew the characters of my story."[9] That idea would soon become the basis for Roadside Romeo.

Animation

The alliance by producer Yash Chopra and Disney Chairman Dick Cook is a first in the field of animation.[5] This also is the first mainstream CGI feature film to come out of India.

The entire project was executed at Visual Computing Labs (VCL), a division of Tata Elxsi Ltd. VCL was involved with everything from visual conceptualisation, character design to animation and final output. Starting in January 2007, production lasted two and a half years and involved 150 crew members; twenty-one months were spent on the animation.[9][10] It also benefited from the use of Tata Elxsi's EKA, one of the world's fastest supercomputers.[3]

Though the company did not publicly release the film's budget,[11] Britain's Guardian newspaper reported it to be in the US$7 million range, far less than that of an average Pixar feature.[3]

Promotion

The first trailer of the film was shown on 12 October 2007 with the release of the film Laaga Chunari Mein Daag,[12] and shows the film's crew holding an audition for Romeo. As seen here and in the original poster, Roadside Romeo was originally slated for a summer 2008 debut; a delay to Diwali resulted in another one featuring Laila's audition.[13]

Costumes of these two characters were made at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the film's Indian promotion.[14] Also for the promotion of the film Yash Raj Films entered into an alliance with Hot Muggs for producing licensed merchandise for the film. Hot Muggs has integrated a first time concept of incorporating cool one-liners from the movie like "Tension Not", "Stay Cool" and "I'm Good Na" on the mugs.[15]

Though stars from every Bollywood film try their best to promote their film, the two main stars of Romeo, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor have not done much promotion. Kareena, who has been vigorously promoting her other Diwali release, Golmaal Returns, made it clear to the Yash Chopra banner that she had no time to talk about Roadside Romeo. Meanwhile, Saif simply made himself inaccessible.[16]

Release

Box office

In the company's first such endeavor, Yash Raj Films on 18 October 2008 held a pre-release screening of Roadside Romeo for film exhibitors.[17] Four nights later, a handful of multiplex facilities in Mumbai began advance sales for the film, with several more taking suit the following day.[18] Finally, it was released exclusively across local multiplexes on 24 October 2008, during the Diwali weekend.[19]

Roadside Romeo received much competition from multi-starrer Heroes, which was released on the same day. It opened to a poor response of 20-25%,[20] which improved two days later to 30-40%.[21] Its first-week gross of Rs. 4.5 crore (US$912,316)[22] became India's highest on record for a Disney production.[23]

In the United States and Canada, Romeo debuted in as many as 40 theatres on 24 October 2008.[24][25] On its first weekend, it made only US$41,770 (Rs. 20.8 lakh) and placed 49th.[26] The following week, its gross came to US$55,202.

In Kuwait, the film opened on 23 October 2008, and grossed US$14,549 by the 29th.[1]

The film opened with similar results in 23 British theatres, grossing £31,576 (Rs. 24.7 lakh).[27] It also fared poorly in Australia (US$13,233/Rs. 6.52 lakh from 9 venues)[28] and New Zealand (US$604/Rs. 29,792 from 2 venues).[29]

Reception

Roadside Romeo received mixed reviews from critics. Nikhat Kazmi gave it three stars out of five. He appreciated the animation (which took more than 2 years to complete), the backdrops and the script. He said that Salim Suleiman composed one of the best movie soundtracks ever. According to him, Jugal Hansraj made a promising debut as a director and plotted a great script which took more than six months to take its final shape. He also said that the movie too closely resembles Disney's iconic movies. The opening song resembles the opening of "The Lion King" and the song "Choo Le Na" resembles "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" from the soundtrack of "Disney's Aristocats'". He also said that the movie had a "Lady And The Tramp" meets "Ratatouille" kind of script.[citation needed]

Taran Adarsh gave it three stars out of five, citing its borrowing from the masala films of 1980s and a predictable story. Another factor that goes against the film is the fact that it lacks good music. Though the title track and "Chhoo Le Na" have been publicized, the impact is missing. Also, the film was targeted at the kids, yet the dialogue of Charlie Anna was in a south Indian accent that was hard to decipher and comprehend even for adults. Despite these many drawbacks, the animation was a good quality of the film which could even be compared to the international animated films.[30]

The New York Times also criticized the movie by saying, "The animated dogs in Romeo aren’t particularly appealing. They mostly walk on two legs and, unlike Disney characters, don’t wear anything beyond neck gear. They look oddly naked and move awkwardly, which flattens the dance sequences and keeps the film earthbound."[31]

Music

Roadside Romeo
Soundtrack by Salim-Sulaiman
Released
1 October 2008 (India)
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label
Producer Aditya Chopra & Yash Chopra
Salim-Sulaiman chronology
Bombay to Bangkok
(2008)
Roadside Romeo
(2008)
Fashion
(2008)

The soundtrack of Roadside Romeo was released on 1 October 2008 by director Jugal Hansraj and actor Jaaved Jaffrey at The Club in Mumbai, Andheri.[32] While the film's soundtrack has been composed by Salim-Sulaiman, lyrics have been penned by Jaideep Sahni.

Joginder Tuteja from indiaFM gave the film's soundtrack 2 out of 5 stars and noted, "The songs in themselves are no great shakes and except for a track or two, the remaining just passes muster. Delayed release of the album would take a further toll on the sales of Roadside Romeo. Overall, Roadside Romeo is a barely an okay album where one's hope only rests on the state of art animation (as promised by the makers)."[33]

Song Singer(s) Duration Notes
Main Hoon Romeo Kunal Ganjawala 4:05 Picturised on Romeo
Chhoo Le Na Sunidhi Chauhan, KK & Sudesh Bhonsle 5:12 Picturised on Laila, Romeo & Charlie Anna
Cool Cool Saif Ali Khan, Jaaved Jaffrey, Marianne D’Cruz & Naresh Kamath 3:11 Picturised on Romeo & Charlie Anna
So Right Kunal Ganjawala & Gayatri Iyer 4:28 Picturised on Romeo & Laila
Apni Dumm Bhi Oonchi Ho Anushka Manchanda, Earl Edgar, Jugal Hansraj, Kunal Ganjawala & Salim Merchant 4:25 Picturised on Romeo & his gang
Rooftop Romance Instrumental 1:39 Picturised on Romeo & Laila
Main Hoon Romeo (Roadside Remix) Kunal Ganjawala 3:28 (Remix: John Stewart & Salim Merchant)
Chhoo Le Na (Moonlight Club Mix) Sunidhi Chauhan, KK & Sudesh Bhonsle 4:18 (Remix: DJ Suketu)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Overseas Totals for Roadside Romeo". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=roadsideromeo.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Ratings information for Roadside Romeo". British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/F50F89CBB895F537802574E80043345B?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  3. ^ a b c Ramesh, Randeep (2008-10-24). "Disney vies for Bollywood gold with Hindi movie". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/oct/24/bollywood-disney-animation-roadside-romeo. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^ "Yash Raj Films’ incredible line-up for 2008". YRF confirm release date of Roadside Romeo. http://www.yashrajfilms.com/News/NewsDetails.aspx?NewsID=3e73203f-bf57-4fd2-86b6-b6cb48e4b513. Retrieved 15 March 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c "Roadside Romeo will be first film to be co-produced by YRF & WDS alliance". IndiaFM.com. http://www.indiafm.com/news/2007/06/12/9577/index.html. Retrieved 12 June 2007. 
  6. ^ a b Chhabra, Aseem, "From Bollywood to Chinatown: Warner Bros. teams with India for 'Chandni Chowk' martial-arts musical", Film Journal International, 14 January 2009
  7. ^ "It's a dog's world for Saif and Kareena". Kareena & Saif give voice over for dogs. http://www.indiafm.com/news/2007/01/19/8682/. Retrieved 19 January 2007. 
  8. ^ "Bebo to lend voice to cartoons". Roadside Romeo will be a completely original Indian film. http://www.santabanta.com/cinema.asp?pid=15342. Retrieved 5 July 2007. 
  9. ^ a b Kapoor, Jaskiran (2008-10-14). "Pup Fiction". IndianExpress.com. Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Pup-Fiction/373391. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  10. ^ Staff (2008-10-20). "Tata Elxsi brings life to Roadside Romeo". Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media Pvt Ltd. http://www.businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=10446. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  11. ^ IANS (2008-10-23). "Encouraging advance bookings for Roadside Romeo, Heroes despite Diwali". Thaindian News. http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/entertainment/encouraging-advance-bookings-for-roadside-romeo-heroes-despite-diwali_100110822.html. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  12. ^ "Saif Ali Khan is Roadside Romeo". Roadside Romeo's first trailer releases with LCMD. http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/07/oct/15_tashan_saif_ali_road_side_romeo_laaga_chunari_mein_daag_100711.asp. Retrieved 15 October 2007. 
  13. ^ "Kareena demonstrates her 'ada' for ROADSIDE ROMEO". Regional Times. 2008-10-18. http://regionaltimes.com/18oct2008/sportsnews/kareena.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  14. ^ Staff (2008-10-02). "Roadside Romeo costumes made in Disney Land [sic], Orlando". Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media Pvt Ltd. http://www.businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=10184. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  15. ^ "Hot Muggs merchandise for Roadside Romeo". Bollywood Hungama News Network. Bollywood Hungama. 22 October 2008. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/features/2008/10/22/4427/index.html. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  16. ^ "Road block!". Times of India. 27 October 2008. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Entertainment/Road_block/articleshow/3643074.cms. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  17. ^ Bhandari, Rohini (2008-10-20). "Yash Raj Films organizes special screening of Roadside Romeo". Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media Pvt Ltd. http://www.businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=10445. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  18. ^ Bhandari, Rohini (2008-10-22). "Multiplex & YRF's Romeo issue resolved". Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media Pvt Ltd. http://www.businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=10482. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  19. ^ Bhandari, Rohini (2008-10-19). "Diwali 2008: Four movie releases; no SRK; ho-hum hype". Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media Pvt Ltd. http://www.businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=10432. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  20. ^ "Heroes Open To Fairly Good Response; Roadside Romeo Poor". Box Office India. Saturday 25 October 2008 10.15 IST. http://www.boxofficeindia.com/boxdetail.php?page=shownews&articleid=507&nCat=box_office_report. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  21. ^ "Roadside Romeo Picks Up Slightly". Box Office India. Monday 27 October 2008 12.30 IST. http://www.boxofficeindia.com/npages.php?page=shownews&articleid=511&nCat=news. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  22. ^ "Golmaal Returns Opens To Bumper Response; Fashion Steady". BoxOfficeIndia.com. 2008-11-01. http://boxofficeindia.com/boxdetail.php?page=shownews&articleid=528&nCat=box_office_report. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  23. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (2008-11-12). "Disney Indian adventure rewarded". Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/29edb9f6-b05d-11dd-a795-0000779fd18c.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  24. ^ Staff (2008-10-24). "The Movie List". Vancouver Sun. Canwest Digital Media/Canwest Publishing. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=b9ac5404-de4f-4bde-9518-a8893956cfa8. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  25. ^ McNary, Dave and Pamela McClintock (2008-10-23). "High School Musical 3 aims for No. 1". Variety. Reed Business Information. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117994551.html?categoryId=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  26. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for October 24–26, 2008". Box Office Mojo. 2008-10-26. http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?view=&yr=2008&wknd=43&p=.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  27. ^ Gant, Charles (2008-10-28). "HSM and Saw land one-two punch on UK box office". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/oct/28/uk-box-office. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  28. ^ "Australia Box Office, October 23–26, 2008". Box Office Mojo. 2008-10-26. http://boxofficemojo.com/intl/australia/?yr=2008&wk=43&p=.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  29. ^ "New Zealand Box Office, October 23–26, 2008". Box Office Mojo. 2008-10-26. http://boxofficemojo.com/intl/newzealand/?yr=2008&wk=43&p=.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  30. ^ "Movie Reviews - Roadside Romeo". Taran Adarsh. Bollywood Hungama. 24 October 2008. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/review/13439/index.html. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  31. ^ "Bollywood: Often Energetic, Now Animated". Rachel Saltz. The New York Times. 25 October 2008. http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/10/25/movies/25rome.html?ref=movies. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  32. ^ "Music launch: "Roadside Romeo"". Indiatimes. http://photogallery.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3548155.cms. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  33. ^ Tuteja, Joginder. "Music Review: Roadside Romeo". IndiaFM. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/musicreview/13439/index.html. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 

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