MUMBAI: Amole Gupte has established himself as an ace writer of scripts about children in an era when children’s film is almost a dead genre. And, he deals with relevant themes depicting ambitions and aspirations of less privileged children. His very first script, Taare Zameen Par showcased his special talent. Since then, his son, Partho Gupte, gives life to his child character as he did in Stanley Ka Dibba and now in Hawaa Hawaai.
Patho works with a chaiwala in a commercial zone of Mumbai delivering tea to offices in the area. After the offices close, when the area becomes deserted, Saqib Saleem, teaches roller-skating to children. Saleem aspired to become a champion but could not fulfil his dream. He now wants to create champions out of other children. His training point is near the tea vendor Partho works for. Partho is fascinated with this sport which involves precision and is full of grace.
Partho is a recent arrival in Mumbai having lost his father, Makrand Deshpande, to a heart attack after a crop failure in his native village. While his granny looks after his kid sister and other sister attends school, his mother works as domestic help and Partho tries to augment the family income with his earning of Rs 50per day delivering tea. But, besides this, he has a bunch of urchins as his close friends. The group conducts its daily meeting on a traffic island before they proceed to their work. These are Ashfaque Khan (Gochi), Salman Chhote Khan (Bhura), Maaman Memon (Abdul) and Tirupati Krishnapelli (Bindaas Murugan). While one works for a motor garage, and the other at a zari weaver’s while one sells gajras at traffic signals and one is rag picker.
Partho tells his friends about the skates and the friends decide to help him and make him a champion. Gochi inquires about the cost from a skater and mistakes 30k for plain Rs 30. They collect Rs 30 and proceed to buy a pair only to realise their mistake. But, Gochi is a genius with tools. The kids embark on a trip to junkyard to collect material to make roller skates in Gochi’s garage. And, they do come up with a pair which works as well as the one worth 30k. The pair is duly decorated by two pieces of zari work.
Producer- Director: Amole Gupte.
Cast: Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem, Ashfaque Khan, Salman Chhote Khan, Maaman Menon, Tirupati Krishnapelli.
Partho now waits for the skating sessions of Saleem to get over and the skating area to empty out so he could start his own session. He observes Saleem’s sessions and later tries to emulate his instructions to other skaters. However, things are not going as well as he wished. Realising this, his buddies decide to literally launch him in the midst of Saleem’s session. Impressed by his enthusiasm, Saleem decides to take him on. Happy with the progress, Saleem decides to enter Partho in a district level competition. The day of the reckoning is here but Partho is not. He is nowhere to be seen neither at the venue nor at his usual hangouts. There is a setback in the plans which teach Saleem a vital lesson that champions can’t be produced in such a hurry without taking into account other issues.
Watching Hawaa Hawaai is a delight while the boys’ camaraderie continues and for their single-minded determination to make a champion out of Partho. In later parts, there is a bit too much happening in the film and not all of this is easy homour as it was through the earlier parts. The boys, Partho, Ashfaque, Salman, Maaman and Tisupati are all very natural and confident. Saleem has a pleasing demeanour. Neha Joshi does well.
Direction and script by Amole Gupte are well handled with ample humour and depicts the contemporary Indian story of small town talent making it big.
Hawaa Hawaai is worth a watch, for kids and grownups alike. Having opened to weak response, some word of mouth may help it do better over the weekend.
‘Manjunath’...Bleak and Drab
This is the biopic about of a local hero, a well educated (IIM graduate) young man who took his job responsibilities seriously and tried to challenge an oil mafia; a clique of fuel pump owners who indulged in illegal means for profiteering. Since the story of Manjunath is less known, some mistake for the story of another whistleblower, Satyendra Dubey, of Bihar, who squealed on highway construction wrongdoings. He graduated from IIT Kanpur and got his masters from IIT Varanasi and went on to join Indian Engineering Services.
Manjunath (played by Sasho Satiiysh Saraathy) is a Tamilian from Bengaluru who excelled academically and finally got a job at Indian Oil Corporation, which is represented in the film as Bharat Oil. Manjunath stumbles across a discovery that petrol pumps mix petrol with kerosene thereby depriving poor people of kerosene which they end up buying in Rs 30 per litre instead of recognised rate of Rs 11. This act, of course, is widespread adding to the coffers of the pump owners. This mafia has become so powerful, nobody dare touch it.
Producer: NFDC and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.
Director: Sandeep Varma.
Cast: Sasho Satiiysh Saraathy, Seema Biswas, Kishore Kadam, Yashpal Sharma, Anjori Alagh, and Faisal Rashid.
Manunath soon realises that not only do his colleagues know of what is happening; some of them may even be involved. However, he decides to continue his crusade against the mafia singlehandedly only to be faced with regular threats. He is advised by his friends and colleagues to seek a transfer to his hometown but Manjunath is not ready to give up. Soon, the threats start working on his mind. He sees his killers everywhere. He is advised to take a break and visit home till he is normal again.
Despite his family’s insistence, Manjunath refuses to accept a job in hometown and returns to UP and resumes his job. Here, back to his strict ways, he seals the same pump, belonging to Yashpal Sharma, for the second time. Sharma has had enough of Manjunath whom his cartel even offers Rs 50 lakh and let them continue doing their business as they wish. One day, after a heated argument, Yashpal calls Manjunath to his pump to collect his instrument used for checking fuel purity. There again, Yashpal tries to reason with Manjunath who refuses to bow down. In the heat of the moment, Yashpal shoots at Manjunath. Lest he may survive this single bullet shot, his colleague completes the task and Manjunath ends up with six bullets in his body.
The body is found accidently by the police after two days. To speed up police action, an alumnus of his institution, Divya Dutta, starts a movement and raises funds to fight the legal battle. There is usual candlelight marches and media interactions follow.
Manjunath is a one honest man’s fight against corruption. This is a biopic but even in our commercial films, the hero is always honest so what is new? Manjunath is so psyched that he is perpetually scared of somebody chasing him to kill him, then how come he becomes brave when his killer is right in front of him pointing a gun at him? That makes the script quite contradictory. Direction is passable. Sasho Satiiysh Saraathy acts sincerely, aptly supported by Seema Biswas and Yashpal Sharma.
Poorly promoted with an insipid theme, Manjunath will be an also ran.
‘Koyelaanchal’... Gory Saga of Nothing
Coal mining and coal mafia are the news headlines of yesteryears. The mining of coals was nationalised in 1974 but that did not change things much except making the government a partner with mafia. Coal mining continues to remain a controversial subject since the strings are now pulled from Delhi in the guise of mining rights. But, does it make a worthy subject for entertainment which a film is supposed to be. The past record of films on coal mafia has failed to stir the audience interest. Yash Chopra’s Kaala Patthar, Shatrughan Sinha’s Kalka, Raakesh Roshan’s Koyla are some examples. These films boasted of superstars of their era. Koylaanchal, on that count, has two past their prime actors in Vinod Khanna and Suniel Shetty.
Vinod Khanna runs his reign in these coalmines regions for 40 years with terror being his only tool. The exploitation of the people and labour is total and there is no way law can do anything to Khanna as most of his activities are officially in the name of his subordinates. However, the district has got a new collector, Suniel Shetty, who is a bit of a stickler for rules. On the other hand, there is some movement against Khanna as the people of backward community have risen against him, killing his people and spreading hatred against him.
Producer- Director: Ashu Trikha.
Cast: Vinod Khanna, Suniel Shetty, Vipino, Roopali, Brij Gopal.
Khanna decides to let loose his main weapon, a living killing machine, Vipino, on these people. Vipino looks scary enough with his perfectly chiselled muscular body, long hair and a face that never betrays emotions. His way of killing someone is brutal to say the least and worse if it is someone who has abused Khanna for Khanna is the only god he has known.
Suniel, contrary to his image, is not a fighting machine here but a practical government official with wife and a child to tend to. But, then, he sees Vipino loose his control despite Khanna’s orders to stay cool and kills a villager for writing dirty message against Khanna on a village wall. Suniel being an eyewitness to the incident, Vipino has to be arrested who is sent into hiding by Khanna. As Khanna feels uncomfortable with this new DC for the first time in his reign, he sends Vipino to scare him that harm may come to his family if he persists with his ways. Vipino’s ends up hurting Suniel’s wife grievously and, unknowingly, ends up with Suniel’s child in his lap.
Since Suniel alone is not enough, there is help come from Intelligence Bureau who also fails to contain Khanna and soon more officers join in. Finally, in absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, Khanna is arrested for cruelty to animals; he, it seems, uses a banned drug on his herd of cows. While Khanna is in police custody and Vipino in the hiding, the people have joined hands with Maoists and destroyed his house and properties.
Koyelaanchal is an orgy of gory violence and nothing in the name of entertainment. Despite Khanna and Suniel around, the hero of the film is Vipino considering the footage given to him. Vinod Khanna is his usual self. Suniel Shetty is okay. Vipino looks sinister enough which he is supposed to. Rupali is good. Direction is average. Rest of the aspects are uninspiring.
Koyelaanchal stands no chance at the box office.