Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Bubble Gum

Sohail Lakhani,Delzad Hiwale,Apurva Arora,Sachin Khedekar,Tanvi Azmi ,Sooraj Singh,Harshvardhan,Azin,Shital,Nischal...

Not tangy enough


Sushma Kaul


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Sanjivan Lal


Sanjivan Lal,

Rohit G. Banawlikar


Sohail Lakhani,Delzad Hiwale,Apurva Arora,Sachin Khedekar,Tanvi Azmi ,Sooraj Singh,Harshvardhan,Azin,Shital,Nischal

Vedant (Delzad Hiwale) is entering the (teen)age of turbulence where crushes,confusion and clashes with parents,siblings and peers are common and morals take on an ambiguous shade. His friend-cum-rival-in-first-crush is Ratan (Sooraj Singh),who is a truly Machiavellian schemer for someone his age. Their common object of adoration is a cop’s daughter Jenny (Apurva Rao) and Vedant is enraged when Ratan keeps putting a spanner in his “wooing” without exactly getting anywhere near first base himself with Jenny.

Vidur (Sohail Lakhani,incidentally a real-life deaf mute) is his more accomplished elder brother despite being physically challenged and he comes home on vacation for a few days. His arrival,the apparent partiality by their parents towards him,and all other problems pile up together on Vedant,making him do several things that he should not.

Of course,all’s well that ends well and not only Vedant but also his over-concerned parents (Sachin Khedekar and Tanvi Azmi) and his errant friends learn the right lessons. A major pivot in this film is Vidur,whose unconditional acceptance of everyone and sense of righteousness without being either a nauseating paragon or a martyr teach a lesson or two to normal people — of all ages.

Here was a golden chance for Hindi cinema’s first contemporary coming-of-age story after the nauseating Ek Chhoti Si Love Story,the rank amateurish MP3- Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar and Aamras and the ill-advised Teree Sang. But the flaws spoil things.

Despite having a linear narration,the film has no focus and meanders from one episode in Vedant’s life to another in an aimless fashion. A clear-cut and crisper narrative (like the recent Chillar Party) regardless of how many angles the co-writer and director Sanjivan Lal wanted to incorporate would have truly saved the film and made it a gripping,light yet instructive entertainer.


Sad,because there is little doubt that the assets of the film do outweigh the liabilities. Director-co-writer Sanjivan Lal keeps the proceedings real,identifiable and immensely warm and positive. A boy is beaten by goondas but there is no melodrama or maudlin scene later. In a sequence that is one of the highlights of the film,Vidur and Vedant fight and while doing so suddenly embrace each other,crying. The children’s squabbles,the tantrums thrown by Vedant with his parents and brother,his matter-of-fact mother and a slightly hyper dad are all straight out of life.

The inquisitive neighbour is another delight and culminates in an irritated Vedant asking her,“Aunty,aapke paas aisi kaun-si technology hai jisse koi yahaan bell bajaata hai aur aap ko sunaayi deti hai?”

By basing the film in the ’70s and ’80s when life was simpler and devoid of cell-phones and other complications of today’s life and also setting it in Jamshedpur,the filmmaker probably hints that things can be much worse today in every sense for teenagers fighting with their hormones and coping with self-esteems and everything else. He makes the film look scenic and fresh and the voiceover narration in today’s lingo by a now-successful and professional Vedant,married but not to his first crush,imparts an apt contemporary touch. Of the songs,Bapi-Tutul’s Har chhutthi and Holika are the only pleasant ones — the other two are plain noise.


The film also scores in its camerawork (Anshul Chaubey),the meticulous art direction of that period and Hanif Shaikh’s background score. But above all,as in Chillar Party,it is the child artistes that make the film a pleasant watch,though the first half is often a drag,especially just before the interval. Sohail Lakhani as Vidur is plain superb and will surely be in the awards race this year. Delzad as Vedant is almost as good,and Apurva a complete natural as Jenny. Khedekar and Tanvi impress too. And a special pat for dialogues writer Rohit G. Banawlikar for his truly wonderful lines.


One star for the positive vibrations the film gives out,one for Sohail and Vedant,one for the rest of the cast and one for the dialogues,camerawork and direction. But the film loses a star for its unfocussed and rambling manner of telling a story when it had huge potential to be a quasi-masterpiece.

First published on: 05-08-2011 at 03:46:31 pm
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