March 17, 2012

In Focus:The Sweetest and the Scariest Movie that I have ever seen..!

(An Official Poster of SKD)

           The week gone by had me tasting yet another failure in life(and quite a bitter one at that!);With nothing much happening in my professional/academic life and the post graduation admission still remaining a distant dream I should have become insane by now had it not been for the moviebuff in me.Watched a couple of movies last week which incidentally turned out to be the‘sweetest’ and the’ scariest’ ones that I had ever seen in my 25 years of existence .The two movies though belonged to entirely different genres had one thing in common- the striking cinematic realism that they displayed.The movies in discussion are Amol Gupte’s directorial debut Stanley ka dabba(Hindi, 2011) and the 32 year old controversial Italian film ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (English,1980).While the former surprised me with it’s innocence and inherent cuteness the latter shocked me with it’s extremely graphic,repulgnant yet realistic content.

The Sweetest-Stanley Ka Dabba(Hindi,2011)

                    Hindi cinema has delivered a couple of good intentioned,well made Children’s films in the recent past (including Amol Gupte’s earlier work ‘Taare Zameen Par’,directed by Aamir Khan).Stanley ka Dabba produced by Amol Gupte Cinema and marketed by Fox Star India was a commercial success when it got released in May last year.Had bought it’s dvd about ten months back(though I felt like watching it only a few days before thanks to the lack of ‘big’ names listed on it’s dvd cover).What makes me write this piece now is that ‘SKD’ turned out to be one among the sweetest films that I had ever watched.Unlike the other desi flicks belonging to the same genre ‘SKD’ never takes itself too seriously nor does it resort to emotional manipulation (for that reason I liked Stanley and his friends more than Gupte’s own ‘TZP’) for pulling at your heart strings .
                   The Film is the story of 7 year old Stanley(played by the director’s son Partho) a student of class iv in a Mumbai Convent school.Stanley, the smartest and the most intelligent kid of the class turns up everyday without having a dabba of his own.His classmates are more than willing to share their food with him but Stanley, the self respecting guy he is prefers satiating his hunger by drinking tap water to taking food from his school mates.Enter Grumpy(Amol Gupte),the Hindi teacher who is obsessed with food and doesn’t really mind scavenging from his colleagues and often from his students.Grumpy too like Stanley doesn’t have a dabba of his own and for that same reason gets Stanley out of the class once.The humiliated kid decides not to enter the class until he gets a dabba of his own.Meanwhile there is an audition happening in the school for an important event and Stanley’s absence from class makes him unable to attend the audition.Why is Stanley not having a dabba of his own?Does he really succeed to get one for him?Will he be able to attend the audition and then take part in the dance event?All these questions are answered in the later half of the film leading to a riveting and a touching climax.
                   Stanley ka dabba is a gem of a film which tugs at your heart strings and leaves a lasting impression in your mind .Agreed,SKD doesn’t have a very long story to tell and what it has could have been easily told within a span of 20 minutes or so but what makes this movie a delightful watch is the brilliant performances of the lead cast(read Partho and his friends).For instance watch out for the class room sequences between grumpy(Amol Gupte) and the children .The scenes were so realistic that I often felt like having checked into a iv th grade class room of some random school.All the children especially Partho and the kid who played Aman Mehra did a terrific job.The issue of child labour has also been delt with tactfully in this entertaining movie.It’s heartening that small,meaningful movies like Stanley ka Dabba are still getting made in an otherwise ‘star dominated’ industry like Bollywood.
Bottomline-The next time you visit a restaurant and see a child cleaning up the table, you would definitely be reminded of this cute little film.It’s not very often that we get delightful movies like this.Miss this charming cinema at your own risk!

-nikhimenon.2012(You are not allowed to copy, any part of this blog and use it in your blog, article, "email forward" or any other non-commercial creative work unless you give me credit and provide the original URL)


Madhulika said...

Its really a sweet movie... I almost cried at the end of it :(

nikhimenon said...


yeah,i think skd is much better than chillar party which bagged the national award for the best children's film of 2011