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Gippi  : Back To School, Yippy!
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Friday, May 10, 2013
Human drama
Sonam Nair
Riya Vij, Divya Dutta, Arbaz Kadwani, Jayati Modi, Taaha Shah, Doorva Tripathi, Mrinal Chawla, Aditya Deshpande
Finally, we have our very own teen drama with the expected dash of filminess…and silliness.YRF tried it with Luv Ka The End but this one scores higher.  

The plot: Living in a broken home with a broken heart, overweight 14-year-old Gurpreet Kaur aka Gippi (Riya Vij), is constantly insulted by Shamira (Jayati Modi), the class scholar and bully. To compound it, Gippi falls for brooding senior, Arjun (Taaha Shah) and is publicly humiliated when he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. At home, along with dealing with regular teenage issues, she supports her mother Pappi (Divya Dutta) when her dad (Pankaj Dheer) decides to remarry. Back in school is another challenge – Shamira throws the gauntlet defying Gippi to defeat her in the school elections, Gippi picks it up with flair and the climax is as predictable as the tepid samosas in the theatre. 

The good: Riya Vij is spectacular as the innocent Gippi and her antics will surely strike a chord within you. The entire story revolves around her and she carries it off brilliantly on her broad, pudgy shoulders. Though Riya is the clear show stealer, it’s also the supporting cast of Arbaz Kadwani, Doorva Tripathi, Aditya Deshpande and Divya Dutta that bring plenty of ‘aww’ moments. Especially, Arbaz as Booboo is cute as the younger, annoying brother who has pitch-perfect emotions and often, the punch lines are his expressions. It’s a simple, uncomplicated story which showcases teenage tensions and a broken home with sensitivity. When Pappi confesses that she might be replaced in her kids’ hearts by the new stepmom, the way Gippi reassures her is heartwarming. Even an implication that pre-teen Booboo likes boys is taken with a pinch of salt especially when Gippi mocks, ‘Tumhara bhi toh boyfriend nahi hai. Kyon? Booboo ke paas boobies nahi hai?’ (Dialogues by Sonam Nair) It is peppered with sweet scenes like the family photograph at Gippi’s dad’s wedding or the way Kabir (Mrinal Deshpande) hands his jacket over to Gippi when her uniform gets torn. The music (Vishal-Shekhar) is nothing memorable except for the Shammi Kapoor numbers that add life to the film. It’s a run of the mill story but Sonam Nair should be lauded for helming such a project without any frills, with maturity and huge dollops of humour. Finally, the gates to the genre of breezy teenage drama have been opened with this tender, sweet venture.

The bad: It’s clean story and a first in its genre but wish they had done something a little more path-breaking than just converting any of the numerous, routine Hollywood flicks into one Gippi for us. The culture of throwing elaborate parties at home is not ours, especially not in a small town like Simla. We have stay-overs and birthday parties or dinners for teens, not a sad Hollywood version of it. Jayati Modi as the overbearing, rich Shamira is over-the-top and Mrinal Deshpande as Kabir is awkward.

Overall: This one is for kids and all those who want to relive their school days. It evokes nostalgia and brings a smile to the face. Isn’t that enough for starters?

– Latika Mehta
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