Hanuman And SriRama In Ramayana
In Ramayana, Hanuman enters the scene during the Kishkindha Kanda and stays in the action ( centre of action at that) till the end. He was not the Ram Bhakt even before he saw SriRama in person. Rama was never his master. SriRama makes a great first impression for his dharmick way of living and Hanuman’s quick wit and smartness impresses SriRama. That’s is all.
Then when Rama observes Sugreeva depending on Hanuman for several things including counsel, SriRama understands and appreciates the talent and the worthiness of Hanuman. That is the reason, Rama himself asked Hanuman to meet him and handed him his insignia to show Sita. For his part, Hanuman, a keen observer, eyed the way SriRama and how he carried himself out in various situations. He grew to admire Rama for his blemish-less virtues.
But it is when he was dwelling in Lanka, that he understood how SriRama’s way of actions had started to influence his actions. Even his thinking. How can a great, upright, and righteous lady like Sita give SriRama such reverential love, if he’s not a person to be revered? Hanuman, the wise guy he was quickly understood that Rama was a class and standard apart. Ramo Vigrahavaan Dharmah.
So, the same Hanuman who initially said that he’s the Duta or the ambassador of SriRama, later says that SriRama is his master and says Dootoham Ramachandrascha. This is how great leaders influence people. SriRama influenced and won over Hanuman. Not that they know each other right before their meeting. It’s all visible in the Valmiki Ramayana.
For those who knows the above facts, and are well versed with Valmiki Ramayana, the changes made in the subject of the Itihaasa (it had happened so) in various reselling, films, in theatre... etc. irk them. But Ramayana was presented by many people in many ways.
Now, Hanuman is the second most fascinating character of Ramayana after Ravana (SriRama is incomparable so, left out of the discussion). And being a Vanara, and his popularity among the kids made him a marketable epic and historical figure for doll makers. Many storytellers and filmmakers too come up with their versions of Hanuman. One such adaptation of Hanuman’s story is The Legend of Hanuman available on Disney Plus Hotstar.
How it’s made? And Storytelling
But what separates his 13 part series (first season) from the others is the visuals and the intensity of storytelling. The visuals are unlike anything we have seen till now. The have a visceral energy. When you see Hanuman doing a few stunts, you forget to take a breath. When someone evil enters the scene, you’ll feel the evil perpetrating through your senses. Even though you know all ends well, you’ll worry for the well being of our heroes.
There’s a portion of the series where Angada turns evil (SPOILER: due to machinations of Shurpanakha). When he’s going out of control and is harming his subjects and mates, Jambavan intervenes and fights him. Angada gets a good bashing. But the scenes are so intensely and passionately created that you’ll forget it’s all part of the game and thinks, like you yourself jump into the screen and add a couple of blows to Angada alongside Jambavan. Effective visual storytelling.
The animation and artwork are conceived to highest standards. Koshkindha and the Yaksha Nagara (city) are so original. The way, the human and Vanara faces are animated is admirable. The makers followed the technique called... Animatics where the artistes are allowed to act instead of just dub. That added a lot of naturality and connected the characters to the audience emotionally.
The background score is top class. Each and every sound is so ingrained in the narration that even a minute vibration can be interpreted in multiple ways. The cinematography plus animation are colourful in a tasteful way. As the days in that time were said to be dark days where the darkness and dark forces are on the rise, the atmosphere is created as such. The Rakshas elements (not exactly Rakshasas) are taken inspiration from the trolls, goblins, and orcs of western films.
Except that the styling of the gods and characters of SriRama, Lakshmana, and Vanaras are through and through Indian. But very updated and different from what we are used to witness. The production values are terrific. The screenplay is episodic and is designed to create tension at the end of each episode. The episodes are created with brevity in mind and you can binge without issues.
To conclude, The legend of Hanuman First season is so good that it can be watched by all age groups. It’s worth a watch for storytelling and visuals. But know beforehand that, it's a plausible scenario rather than the Valmiki Ramayana itself. So, keep in mind some portion of the series is fictitious. But not as distorted as it was the case in several recent television soaps as of now. Highly recommended.