Saquib Saleem, Partho Gupte,
Anuj Sachdeva, Pragya Yadav, Rekha Kamat, Neha Joshi, Makarand Deshpande,
Following close on the heels of his ‘Stanley Ka Dubba,’ Amole Gupte’s ‘Hawaa Hawaai’ appears to be more of a quickly sprung-up to allow the director top-of-the-mind status, instead of a purely creative effort meant to invigorate and enthuse.
A sports film with in-line skating as the sport-of-choice, this film, like most films in this genre, tells us a story of a poor boy living his dreams thanks to some fine encouragement and support from his friends and teacher. There’s also a social message about right to education, meant to sweeten the offering. But it’s not all that it was meant to be and that’s entirely because of an indulgent, stilted and contrived script and narrative that doesn’t allow for riveting believability.
This is Partho Gupte’s second film with his father as director, one in which he plays the main protagonist and as such should have been a much more assured effort. But both father and son appear to be pursuing their own agenda, adversely affecting the cinematic engagement.
Arjun (Partho Gupte) is an underdog, a cotton farmer (Makarand Deshpande)’s son who along with his widowed mother and siblings, moves from his village to a tiny tenement in the Dharavi slum colony, following his father’s demise.
Arjun takes up a job in a tea stall near a quadrangle that moonlights as a skating rink in the late hours of the evening. Fascinated by the sport Arjun dreams of one-day wearing the frightfully expensive in-line skates and finding his own dream. A group of children from the streets, whom he befriends, help him by creating a set of skates from trash which they specifically collected for this purpose.
Lucky (Saquib Saleem) sir does the needful in teaching him the basics and encouraging him to achieve the impossible. But of course contrived hurdles crop up to delay the inevitable.
The major chinks in this armour come from untenable sub-plots that fabricate hindrances in order to make the main storyline interesting. Unfortunately the opposite is achieved. Arjun’s circumstances are presented with an indulgence that negates the engagement. The camera hugs his face for minutes more than necessary, as though mesmerised by his expressions.
Gupte appears to have more of a fascination for making his son look good than in telling an effective story. Also the subplots are just a little too heavy on sentiment and melodrama, thus disallowing the steady flow of unaffected story-telling.
The smaltzy depiction of brotherly love between the two orphans, Lucky and his older brother(Anuj Sachdeva), an Investment banker settled in the US, whom he lovingly refers to as Bade, hampers the effectiveness of the narrative. And so does the unnecessary romantic attachment brought on by a drunken driving accident that lays Lucky sir low.
As for the sporting track, which puts Arjun on the road to success albeit, with a few hurdles to overcome, there’s a fair dose of kinesis to keep you hooked – an achievement of sorts because even there Gupte fumbles with a narrative hindering flashback visit to Arjun’s father’s death, right in the middle of the state level race. Even Arjun’s entry into Lucky’s group of skating students is engineered without much finesse.