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Bubble Gum  : Easy to chew
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Friday, July 29, 2011
Sanjivan Lal
Sohail Lakhani, Delzad Hiwale, Apoorva Arora, Suraj Singh, Sachin Khedekar, Tanvi Azmi
A smooth and lucid narrative on adolescent angst. The kids’ emotional traumas have a sweet aftertaste, like bubble gum.
The plot: 14-year-old Vedant (Delzad Hiwale) flags under pressure. He bears many burdens as a sensitive  teen, including a deaf-mute brother Vidur (Sohail Lakhani), an always-hyper, nagging father Mukund (Sachin Khedekar), a reserved love Jenny (Apoorva Arora), a nasty rival for Jenny’s affections, Ratan (Suraj Singh) – it’s a bit too much for a growing boy to bear. As Vedant’s love story blossoms, impediments come his way which force him into misdeeds like stealing, conspiracy, assault, and these have a major impact on his life. The tension of sibling rivalry, jealousy, fights with parents, peer group problems, girlfriend quarrels, nosy neighbours, is lightened by his rediscovery of his bond with his brother, his love for his parents and a reconciliation with his bitter rival.

The good: For its sheer simplicity and honesty, this film is a treat. It’s much more than just a children’s film, in fact it’s especially relevant in today’s times since it uncovers the intricate psychology of parent-child relationships and also amusingly depicts the psyche of neighbours and small-town folk. Brimming with freshness, it will appeal to young and old alike. Director Sanjivan Lal (who has also contributed to the script, story and dialogues), steers his tale skilfully through drama, emotion and humour. Innocent love and childhood fun is told against the picturesque backdrop of Jamshedpur, beautifully captured by Anshul Chaubey, offering a reminder of Udaan, another ‘fresh’ film which was located there. From the attire to the accent, the language and the mindset, the director gets it all right. Adding a touch of realism are the children running around the colony asking for chanda for Holi and organising bachcha parties for themselves.  The realization that it was the parents’ focus of attention on physically handicapped Vidur which created psychological issues for Vedant, is heart-wrenching. Additional dialogues by Rohit Gahlowt are sharp. Lines like the one where Vedant tells his friend, ‘Maa-baap ke saamne thodi nautanki karni padti hai, varna woh sir pe chad jaate hai’, add unforced humour and are completely natural. The editing is crisp and seamless. As for the performances, the kids act better than most mature actors. The deaf-mute character played by Sohail is convincing and the trauma of Delzad makes you want to cry for him. Apoorva is cute and the parents, played by Sachin Khedekar and Tanvi Azmi are so impeccable that one can’t imagine any other actors doing the job. Other kids like Partho (Harshvardhan) and Vineeta (Mala) also have well-rounded characters.

The bad: The parents don’t seem to have anything else to do, besides solving their children’s problems, which are minor to say the least. Also, there are certain questions left unanswered, like for instance, why Vedant doesn’t come down from the terrace for ages when he sees his brother in distress. The music doesn’t leave a mark and some tunes could have been better.

Overall: It’s a different watch and parents may find it useful. It won’t bore, that’s for sure!

– Pooja Thakkar

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