Before Kabir Khan’s blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan and its “Selfie le le” chartbuster became household names, Ruchi Narain had approached Salman Khan through his sister Alvira to lend his voice to the `adult’ Hanuman in her animated fea ture, Hanuman Da Damdaar. The actor who adores children liked the idea prop agating mythology in an entertaining way for mass consumption. He was also intrigued by the “da” in the title and responded with an enthusiastic “sure”.And towards the year end, he turned up at the studio to dub the lines in his inim itable, damdaar style.”He’s the kind of actor who once he gets the ball, runs with it and always scores. His improvisations had us in splits. He’d look at us and ask, “Zyada ho gaya kya?” And we’d assure him he was just great. Sometimes, in between shots, he’d croon, “Main hoon Hanuman tera”,” Ruchi reminisces with a smile, pointing out that only after he’d finished his day-long dubbing did they get down to animating his character so it would reflect his `performance’.Many are surprised when they learn that the writer of Hazaaron Khwaishain Aisi, Sudhir Mishra’s love triangle set against the backdrop of the Emergency, is now directing an animated film for children. She points out that it’s because she feels Indian kids are deprived of good animated content despite our rich mythology and its trippy characters.In December 2007, Anurag Kashyap had directed an animated film, Return of Hanuman, for his daughter, Aaliyah, and her pals after she complained that his films were all about cops and men being beaten up. It had Hanuman take birth on Earth after seeing a village boy being bullied. Despite a `schoolboy hero’ Maruti, the film touched on serious issues like global warming. “Anurag took Hanuman into the fiction space, my story is more a mix of mythology and fiction,” says Ruchi who has been working on her fantasy adventure for three years now.”Everyone knows about the Ramayan, but legend has it that there was something called the Hanumad Ramayan which is lost to us. This is what I imagine Hanuman’s story to be like.”The film releases towards the year end with Bajrangi’s blessings.
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