Stanley ka Dabba – A Generous Serving of Silent Retrospection

I’ve been waiting a long time to find the perfect movie that will make me write a review and kick off the movie reviews section of The Review Lounge. Until a few days ago, even the thought of starting this barren section did not cross my mind. And then I watched Stanley ka Dabba.  The movie released in 2011, but it was only recently that I got a chance to watch it. Halfway into the movie, I was chiding myself for not having viewed this gem much earlier!

As the title suggests, Stanley ka Dabba is the story of Stanley Fernandez, a good-humored, kind, intelligent, creative boy. As in every school, or rather, as in the perspective of every kid who’s been to school, there’s a “khadoos” teacher in Stanley’s life. This “khadoos”, played by Amole Gupte, is a certified glutton who loves to eat from students’ lunch boxes while he gets none and even has demands to make. This is in contrast with Stanley, who doesn’t bring a box, and who despite his age doesn’t pounce on everyone else.

When “khadoos” sees Stanley’s friends helping him out by sharing their tiffins, he can’t stand it. He starts picking on Stanley to get a box. What happens when he tells Stanley to bring a box or skip school, why Stanley doesn’t bring a box, and how Stanley brings pride to the school despite being asked to skip, is left to be seen.

Stanley ka Dabba is a simple story, but is powerful in its execution. Director Amole Gupte knew what he wanted and got what he asked for. All actors in the movie have done a stupendous job, especially the child actors. With the child actors, especially the lead, Partho, giving seniors like Divya Dutta a run for their money, the future of Indian cinema looks bright. I can talk about the acting, but I’m not an expert in the finer aspects of filmmaking. I can only comment on how the film made me feel.

Stanley ka Dabba makes you laugh, makes you cry, and makes you revisit your school days. It makes you identify with every little thing that Stanley and his friends do, because that is what schoolchildren are almost always up to. The purity of friendships at school, the good teachers, the bad teachers, the strict teachers, the kind teachers. Wanting to do something, but being scared to step out of your boundaries, wanting to stay put but being pushed to do something. The film captures it all in its subtle textures.

Hats off to director Amole Gupte for having directed a film such as this. Not to forget that he wrote the story and screenplay as well. So triple the accolades!

I absolutely love the movie. So my rating is pretty high!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: dfuse.in!

 

P.S. I have written about a couple of books that were made into movies in the ‘Book Reviews’ section of this blog. Here are the links:

The Fault in Our Stars

Gone Girl

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