June 13, 2009 10:50:10 am
Cast: Mithun Chakraborty,Ashwin Chitale,Megan,Hardik,Ayesha,Ritvik,Seema Biswas,Gulshan Grover,Mahesh Manjrekar
Director: Girish Girija Joshi
Something new seems to happening in the moribund area of childrens films: the moralising that used to be laid on with a heavy trowel is slowly becoming a light shovel. Its not gone yet,and its unlikely that it will disappear completely,but it looks as though now kids can be just kids,in at least some of the running time of the film.
Zor Laga Ke Haiya is about a bunch of ecologically aware kids (Megan,Hardik,Ayesha,Ritwick,Ashwin) trying a save a tree in their compound. For this,they have to fight against a greedy builder (Gulshan ) and his faithful chamcha contractor (Mahesh),and a sinister-looking homeless person (Mithun),who lives across the road in a ramshackle lean-to.
Turns out that he is actually a good man who ran away from home because of his sons hard-heartedness. It also turns out that the 13 year old child labourer Ram (Ashwin) who is forced to work on the site by the contractor,knows how to use planks and nails and create a treehouse. That becomes the focal point for the kids play,and struggle to keep the tree alive.
Good intention,lax execution. Theres no focus in the first half; its only post interval that the young green warriors swing into action,and create interest. The end,when a Ganapati Bappa idol appears within the tree and scares the cutters away nearly ruins everything,though: to keep the flag of superstition flying should not be the purview of feature films targeting children.
What saves it is the actingthe adults do their job well (Seema Biswas is fine); the children are natural (Ashwin Chitale is superb). You only wish that they were not made to sing songs periodically,and state the most obvious things. Kids are way smarter.
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