Last night, when we were deciding on which movie to watch, we had narrowed down our choice to Ragini MMS and Amole Gupte’s Stanley ka Dabba. The reason I shunned the former was Ekta Kapoor! It turned out to be a right decision.
Had it been just the first half, the movie would have been a waste. It was very light-hearted and portrayed all the typical elements that Bollywood is fond of showing in a children’s film, with a school as its background- except that the director took extreme care in depicting vividly and at the same time plainly, the life of a fourth-grade kid in a school. You will most certainly be reminded of your own school days- the popular guy in the class, the tiffin-break, the classrooms, the teachers, the chorus “Good Morning” and “Thank you”, the crush on the beautiful teacher, the khadoos teacher (khadoos in his/her own way in every school) and so on.
The “lunch break” reminded me of how we shared our tiffin- the joy in eating from other tiffin-boxes irrespective of whatever special dish your mother packed for you. When I look back, I realize how the nature of the tiffin we carried was determined by our family backgrounds. Thank God, kids don’t worry about all these social differences- or are they made so “mature” that they can afford to overlook them? I wasn’t particularly happy when Stanley alone was gifted a chocolate in front of the whole class- I’ve been through similar situations in school and I know kids don’t like it at all! Of course, Stanley was generous enough to share it with others.
Not everything was the same as my school-days: a notable difference was a child carrying a mobile-phone to school. Then, thankfully, if I can correctly recollect, I didn’t have to prepare a “project” when I was in standard-four. I pity the current sate of affairs!
I was reminded of Taare Zameen Par several times: the punishment scene, the caring teacher and the kid washing his face in tap-water.
I was really taken aback by the use of Tagore’s “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake” at the end of a concert Stanley participated in. These words held so much meaning in the context of the movie towards the end (I won’t spoil your movie experience by telling ‘how’). Stanley taught how to smile in difficult times. I cannot resist myself from quoting Reuters’ review: ”Stanley Ka Dabba for the most part doesn’t hammer its message home. So that when the message does hit home, it hits pretty hard.”
Hold on- I didn’t reveal the crux of the story- the message that was so playfully sent to the audience. All I wrote wasn’t a spoiler in the real sense. So, what are you waiting for?