Originally directed by Kompin Kemgumnird, it's the story of a wild young pachyderm who wanders away from his mother in the jungle, becomes a work elephant in a village, and eventually is claimed as the prized war elephant of King Naresuan the Great. Thailand's first computer-animated feature, it took three years to make and was released in Thailand in 2006. It won several awards, including Best Picture at the Subhanahongsa Awards.
In addition to Akshay, other Bollywood stars lending their voices to Jumbo are Lara Dutta, Dimple Kapadia, Mithun Chakraborty, Paresh Rawal and Asrani lending their voices to the characters.
The Indian press is rife with reports about Jumbo. Here's Akshay quoted by Kerala Online:
“It’s a very simple story. I am playing the blue elephant and I fall in love with the pink elephant,” says he.
The film is about the connection that the baby elephant is unable to have with his father, and how his father sacrifices everything for his country. It’s also about the love and support a mother gives her child.
“The reason for me doing this animation film is purely because how it made me feel. Watching it, brought back so many emotions. Children don’t just need humour or action in their lives, they also need lessons, love and understanding. This film made me think so much about my son that I was ready to be part of it. Like my father used to say, ‘It’s not just about doing the big and best things all the time. Life is about doing what is important and what is right.’ This is exactly how I felt.”
Jumbo is an emotional story of an elephant and also stresses on family values and relationships.
Akshay Kumar has been paid a whopping Rs. 9 crores [90 million rupees, or about US$1.8 million!] for dubbing the dialogues and participating in the picturisations of two promotional songs for Percept Picture Company’s animation film, Jumbo
A report at Midday details the work that went into making Jumbo a big-budget affair, as well as why they are paying Akshay so much to do the dub.
Jumbo producers, Percept Picture Company, have been telling anyone willing to listen that they spent a lot of time and money making the animated feature.
The truth is that the original movie is easily available through the film's co-producer Eagle Home Entertainment's office.
A source in the industry reveals, "Jumbo is clearly lifted from Khan Kluay, a Thai animation flick that was bought by Eagle at a paltry Rs 20 lakh.
They planned to dub the movie and release it on DVD in India. But when Percept got a whiff of the film, they got Eagle on board and planned a huge release and promised it would be dubbed by A-list stars."
The source further adds, "Khan Kluay was already in Indian markets before Percept came in the picture. The DVD of the film was being sold at Rs 300."
But with a big Bolly flick on the line, Eagle took the DVD's entire stock off shelves nationwide.
Akshay Kumar is already doing Percept's next, 8X10 being directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.
They offered the actor a huge sum to dub for Jumbo.
Percept wants to remain in Akki's good books as they plan on making several films with the star.
Their film 8X10 has been in the making for a while.
"They wanted to pamper him with some extra cash. Besides, they know that Akki's popular streak will ensure that the film has a decent run at the BO," adds the source.
Shailendra Singh, Percept Picture Company's head honcho says, "The original flick was made by a company called Kantana Animation in Bangkok.
"Eagle made us meet them, we overtook the project from them and developed it for over two years putting in Indian sentiments and remaking it for the Indian consumer.
"We have added some 60-odd scenes and sequences to the original with a love angle and all the other jazz to make the movie more appealing to every age. We did something similar with the first Hanuman in 2005."
A music video, "Everything Is Gonna Be Alright", has been shot to promote the film.
Another report accuses Percept of trying to cover up the Thai origins of Jumbo, while still another says Akshay is all wrong for voiceover work.
Earlier this year, Khan Kluay received the Hollywood treatment for its U.S. release on DVD as The Blue Elephant. With the Thai-language track entirely dumped, the version released by The Jim Henson Company features the voice work of Martin Short, Carl Reiner and Miranda Cosgrove.