When “Stanley Ka Dabba” got released last year, I was one of those who wanted to see it. I liked Amol Gupte’s creative scenes in “Taare Zameen Par” (Well, despite everything the end-credits say, I would like to consider it an Amol Gupte film) and was waiting for his further creations. Being outside India made it difficult for me to watch the movie all this while. Finally, I managed to watch it now!
In this background, I should say “Stanley ka Dabba” is a bit disappointing. Well, Stanley was endearing. Partho Gupte who acted as the kid Stanley was brilliant. The classroom scenes with the kids were so natural. But, movie ran pretty slowly (atleast for me). How many times can one see others lunch boxes all the time! Also, the part of the Hindi teacher eating everybody’s lunch boxes stealthily as well as publicly seemed too unreal to believe. Perhaps a few minutes on the teacher’s background might have helped.
The fact that not a single person in the class (or among his teachers) knows the real story behind Stanley too was hard to digest. Stanley’s lifestyle made me wonder if its possible for a child labourer to afford the kind of school atmosphere he is in. How he got in to that place and how he funds himself was really not clear, which made me feel the story is unreal. There were more such scenes which just didn’t seem right to me -the last scene where all the teachers sharing Stanley’s lunch box everyday without showing any curiosity about his personal life, for example. Well, ofcourse, everything shown in a movie need not be within the stream of my reality. And ofcourse, a movie is not mandated to be realistic either. But this is just an opinion. The cast was another disappointment-I was not particularly impressed by any of the actors except the kids and Amol Gupte as the Hindi teacher. It would have been a nice story to read. A nice single-episode thing on television. But, a full movie? well…er…you see….
But, given the fact that I ignore so many things (some outright blunders) in a lot of nonsensical movies I enjoy, I would say “Stanley Ka Dabba” is a decent movie. Watch it for the kids. Watch it for Partho Gupte. Watch it to relive your primary school days. But, go watch it without expecting the TZP kind of creative scenes. Here, you have only creative artists (the kids) .