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Movie review: 'Hawaa Hawaai'

'Hawaa Hawaai'
U: Drama / sports
Director: Amole Gupte
Cast: Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem, Pragya Yadav
Rating: 

There is an immensely talented but economically deprived child. There is a passionate coach who wants the boy to win at any cost. And then there is a happy ending. Sure-fire formula for a tear-jerking, heart-melting film? Hawaa Hawaai clearly aspires to be that and almost lives up to its own expectations.

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A still from 'Hawa Hawaii'

Arjun aka Raju (Partho) comes from a farmer’s family and after his father’s death, he ends up being the sole breadwinner. He takes up a job at a tea stall, not knowing that his life will begin to change soon after. Night after night, right in front of the tea stall he works at, Arjun watches a young man (Saquib Saleem) teaching skating to scores of kids and he soon realises that he wants nothing more than to learn skating. So in a sort of modern-day version of the Bheeshma-Eklavya tale, Arjun starts learning skating on his own, inspired by watching the coach teach the kids. Soon, Arjun’s urchin friends help him find a way out to get the coach’s attention and then there is no looking back.

Nothing novel really about this rags-to-famous story (written by Amole Gupte), but what works for the film is one, the intention behind the film and two, the treatment. Director Amole Gupte portrays the miserable lives of street kids, who are forced to stay away from school and do menial jobs for a living with brutal honesty, yet not making it dark. With dollops of humour infused in the dialogues mouthed by these five feisty kids who go about their lives accepting their destiny in a matter-of-fact way and enjoying whatever life has offered them, the film keeps you entertained. A special mention has to be made of child artiste, Ashfaq Bismillah Khan, who plays this resourceful, supremely confident kid Gochi with absolute brilliance.

Gupte’s cast is a mixed bag. While actors like Neha Joshi (Partho’s mother) and the other child artistes are fantastic and fit perfectly well in the setting, other ones like Pragya Yadav (Saquib’s girlfriend) and the actor who plays his brother seem too stiff and out of place. Saquib, as an emotional, passionate coach, brings a commendable and sensitive performance to the table. Partho Gupte, who has proved his acting chops in Stanley Ka Dabba, however, seemed somewhat miscast as a child belonging to such a poor household.

While most of the film is delightful and tugs at your heart, at some points, it seemed like the screenplay has been manipulated to get the audiences’ empathy. Not such a bad thing, now only if the effort didn’t show.

But then a film with the right intention and its heart in the right place shouldn’t be missed. Watch this one.

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