Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

What a truly underwhelming film.

The cast of “Dolittle” is beyond stellar : Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Jim Broadbent, Antonio Banderas, Selena Gomez, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard, John Cena, Frances de la Tour…I mean, gosh, whew, yes, whew, WHAT a stunning line up.

The special effects are absolutely super.

The story line and the plot, however, are terrible.

Truly terrible.

Really & truly terrible.

You have to wonder what on earth Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Jim Broadbent, Antonio Banderas, Selena Gomez, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard, John Cena, & Frances de la Tour were thinking about when they signed up for this rambling, over-complicated, silly film?

Did they not read the script beforehand?

Did they not wonder what Queen Victoria and a scheming courtier (Jim Broadbent…why? Why oh why oh why?) were doing in this story?

I imagine little children might like it, because there are talking animals, though they might not get the Queen Victoria/scheming courtier sub plot. Lucky children.

Oh, silly me, I forgot to mention Robert Downey Jr.

What can one say about Robert Downey Jr?

God alone knows what accent he was aiming for, but I thought he started out as vaguely American-actor-trying-to-sound-Scottish, but then he drifted off into American-actor-trying-to-sound-Welsh, and a lot of the time he sounded as though he was mumbling, & you couldn’t hear him properly, so it was all a bit sad, really.

The film was too long, too convoluted, and too unfunny.

There should have been lots of charm & lots of humour, but other than the tiger reverting to being a cat & chasing a beam of light, that was it.

You could happily have axed 1/3 of the film without anyone noticing.

A total & utter waste of a fab cast.

A total & utter waste of amazing animation of the animals.

If you have little children, then I think they’ll enjoy it. There’s nothing the little dears can’t cope with – there’s even a flatulent dragon.

Yup, it descends to that level of slapstick.

MUGHAL INDIA exhibition at the British Library

For anyone with an interest in India, then the blockbuster “Mughal India” exhibition at the fabulous British Library in London is not to be missed.

As in absolutely not to be missed.

Let me rephrase that first sentence somewhat.  For anyone with an interest in India and/or history…this exhibition is a must-see.

There are beauties and treasures there that are dazzling, and even for Indian residents such as us, there were fabulous things we had never seen before.

The exhibition is – as one would expect from the British Library –  extremely detailed and you leave with a sense of perspective and – though I rather dislike the word –  an overview of a dynasty that had such a huge impact on the Indian subcontinent.

One word of advice : allow yourself time.

There are so many utterly fabulous, brightly coloured, jewel-like miniatures, all deserving of detailed examination.  It is a crime to skip any of them.  There are coins, armour, artefacts, photographs, books – so much to see and absorb, so , as I sadi, you need time.

Personal favourites were the rather OTT crown of the last Moghul emperor, which Queen Victoria bought, of all things; and a breathtaking 5 metre long painting that consists of a 360 degree view over Old Delhi.

Highly recommended.

We just walked in and bought tickets on the spot, despite being warned by friends that we should have booked online for a timed entry.  But doing the latter can only be a good idea.

The exhibition is on until 2 April 2013.