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Sniff  : Smells Just Right
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Friday, August 25, 2017
Action
Amole Gupte
Khushmeet Gill, Surekha Sikri, Sushmita Mukherjee, Manmeet Singh

Put writer-director Amole Gupte in a classroom and he’ll comfortably settle down with the kids in uniform. But he knows the grown-ups too. So, when he starts an adventure franchise, somewhat like an Enid Blyton on celluloid, he moves adroitly between the members of a housing society and its junior residents.

 

Amole has another skill. He sniffs out one trait like the greed of a school teacher in Stanley Ka Dabba or one area of challenge like dyslexia in Taare Zameen Par, gives it cinematic exaggeration and builds around it.

 

This time he takes the nose, yes, the organ with which we smell. Schoolboy Sunny Gill has a congenital condition. His olfactory organ doesn’t work, medical science says there’s no way he can be helped, and so, Sunny must live his life without ever smelling his grandmother Bebe’saromatic pickles. And he certainly can’t smell the gross stuff that shoes sometimes pick up, unwittingly leaving a stinking trail all over the school.

 

Only a miracle can give Sunny the sense of smell and it does happen. In fact, he turns super sniffer, his nose can identify and detect smells from two kilometres away.A little like the Russian crime serial The Sniffer which revolves around an adult with heightened olfactory functioning, Sunny’s nose too helps him crack many a police case.

 

This is healthy children’s fare but abit simplistic in the crime busting. And even under 90 minutes, it does seem a bit stretched. But the relationships are relatable in the various members of the housing society, juxtaposed with Sunny’s childish adventures. There is for instance a Bengali couple where the husband is the stay-at-home partner while his wife is a policewoman. And the reactions of neighbours to the husband are typical of conventional minds. Or the society meeting where a member waits for a chance to grab another’s parking space which is humorous and so familiar.

With children like Khushmeet Gill as Sunny and little boy Adil as one of his friends, the natural cuteness is high. Adults like Surekha Sikri and Sushmita Mukherjee are seasoned.

 

A Ganpati number is catchy and will be an addition to the popular numbers played during Ganesh Chaturthi every year.

 

For a watchable children’s film that has touches of wit, Sniff gets a 3* rating.

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author

 

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