‘The best thing I could have done in my life is to sit crossed legged on the floor at equal height, or even lower than my life-altering bandwagon of children friends. I have been up-close for long, observing and absorbing their characteristics, natures and behaviour and so it was inevitable that I walk the path with them, for them.’ - Amol Gupte
How many of you have still not watched this gem of the year? I want to give a big hug to Amol Gupte for writing, directing, producing and acting in this simple, non-preachy and yet touching breeze of fresh air film of the year amid all nonsensical crap releases of the Bollywood this year. The creative man and original brain behind ‘Taare Zameen Ke’ brought another heartwarming film about children by the children but not only for the children. It not only brings the innocent and selfless joy, fun and friendship of our school days but also ignite a spark of concerning message which we avoid and neglect in our daily lives.
Amid all joy and fun of sharing lunch boxes in recess at school, there are two fellows without their lunch boxes; their appetite rely on others lunch boxes. One is the Stanley, the other is his ‘Khadus’ food obsessed Hindi teacher Ba.Bu.Verma. The chase and hide and seek of lunch boxes…aah Gupte literally made Aman Mehra & Party’s four compartments big steel tiffin box as the character of the film. As grown up kids we already know about Stanley and his lies from very beginning but when we spare his Sunday return at home, his after hours, his tiffin box, his felt absence in class, it makes us think and ponder about millions of Stanleys in India. Stanley is not only the feel good film about a young protagonist, it’s truly a story of that proverbial lotus that rises above all mud and filth around and stays beautiful.
As mentioned in the end, the film is the result of theatre and cinema sessions conducted by Gupte & company on Saturdays and vacation days over a year and half, without a single day of school missed by those wonderful non actor kids acting effortlessly natural. Partho as Stanley is just natural and irreplaceable here, he deserves awards than all so called ruling superstars of Bollywood. Amol Gupte knows damn well what suits him here and he’s too matchless as ‘the Khadus’ Hindi teacher entering into class with betelnut in mouth guided by his gluttony. Watch his body language and it reminds you at least one of your teacher at school whom you love to hate those days. Divya Dutta is always pleasure to watch and she’s fine actress who’s growing with her each screen presence, here as sweet English teacher Miss Rosy, she reminds me the kind of teacher whom the school kids have first crush.
Unfortunately the film is not released in theatres in my hometown, and so I’ve ended up watching theatrical pirated digital version challenging my already bespectacled eyesight and still I must say it deserves that by all accounts. Will surely purchase original DVD when release…this film deserves that too.
One of the best Hindi film of this year for sure.
PS- Don’t forget to log on to http://www.stanleykadabba.com/treeofhope/index.php if you feel you can help in whatever limited way in this cause.