The Wishing Tree
STORY: A group of friends come together to save a centuries-old tree, which is said to possess magical powers and grant wishes, from a logger who wants to it off for the precious wood.

REVIEW: Of late, there has been a spate of films releasing which promise they have a social ‘message’. But scratch the surface and you realise that the ‘message’ bit was nothing but a publicity gimmick. The Wishing Tree, in that regard, is different. Yes it has a message about saving trees, but the film is much more than just that. It talks about raising environmental awareness and shows how we are all connected to nature and are dependent on each other.

The characters and the dilemmas that the kids face here are interesting and relevant. Subjects like body-shaming, learning disabilities, kleptomania among others are addressed. Also, unlike other Bollywood films from the genre which tend to trivialise the children’s issues, here the filmmaker handles them in a mature, non-preachy way.

We have Nikita (Harshpreet Kaur), the main character, who is taunted by people around her for being overweight. When she’s at the lowest point in her life, she bumps into a gypsy (Shabana Azmi) in the forest. The mysterious woman turns her onto a secret which changes Natasha’s fortunes and of those around her. The tree (voiced by Amitabh Bachchan), is a live character who keeps the viewers updated through the film by narrating his own story.

The film relies a lot on animation in all scenes connected to the Wishing Tree, the quality of which leaves a lot to be desired and lacks consistency. The visuals are breath-taking. A surprise cameo by Bobby Darling is quite refreshing and may be the actor’s only decent role till date.

There’s a lot for the little ones to enjoy and learn, but we just wish that the film had a stronger plot that were realized in a better way.

(Times Of India)