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Stanley Ka Dabba

Posted in Cinema, DVD, Hindi, Reviews by Suganth on September 23, 2011

A slice-of-life movie that superbly captures the innocence of childhood

The first half of Amole Gupte’s directorial debut is a superb example of how a filmmaker should capture spontaneous reactions from his cast. This achievement is all the more delightful because the emotions captured are those of children, who, unlike adults, do not hide their emotions under a cloak of ‘mature’ behaviour. That is why it is refreshing when you see the usually-extroverted Stanley turning bashful when complemented by his favourite Rosy Miss. While a typical filmmaker might have had Stanley uttering at least a ‘Thank You’, Gupte just captures his little protagonist’s blush, subtly signaling the crush that Stanley has on this benevolent and appreciative teacher. He even shows Stanley playing Peeping Tom and witnessing the ‘little romance’ between his beloved Rosy Miss and her fiancée when she is being dropped off. However, Gupte presents this just as a throwaway shot and not as a means to underline his point. It is in this casual tone that the director makes his film, stringing scene after delightful scene with gentle, humorous and heartwarming undertones that when the inevitable big reveal (the mystery behind the titular dabba) arrives, the shift in tone jolts you out of this pleasant reverie and almost makes the climax seem manipulative. This is the kind of reveal that short stories thrive on but one which doesn’t necessarily translate well on to the big screen. But then, when you start replaying the film in your mind once it is over, you realize that this is where the story was headed from the start and make your peace. The DVD has a mine of special features – an insightful ‘making-of’ feature, deleted scenes, trailer, Bollywood celebs talking about the film.

Copyright ©2011 Chennai Times

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