Super 30 Movie Review: Certainly passes the test!
A film like Super 30, in that sense, is purely par for the course for Roshan. Without doubt, he passes the test
U/A: Biography, drama
Dir: Vikas Bahl
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur
This is what you would call a quintessentially 'Bollywood' film — nearly touching three hours; rather over-dramatic, and high-octane in its treatment. For, how else to justify the grandness and scale for superstar Hrithik Roshan's first outing in theatres, in close to a couple of years?
On the face of it, Roshan may not even appear as the prime candidate to be cast as a deeply downtrodden, down-and-out mathematician from Patna, who somehow ekes out an existence selling papads on the street, despite a talent for numbers that can't take him too far, since he has no financial resources to pursue/build a career commensurate to his aptitude.
Close your eyes, or match his picture with Anand Kumar, on whose life Super 30 is based. No, Roshan is not the guy you're likely to imagine in the part. Watching him on screen, you could have a quibble or two over whether his Bihari accent is instantly convincing, or indeed if the finely tanned make-up works.
What you cannot deny though is the lead actor's innate ability to take risks with roles, all through his career — whether that be as a Mughal Emperor (Jodha Akbar), someone mentally challenged (Koi Mil Gaya), or totally paralysed (Guzaarish).
I know it's become rather common for current mainstream stars to seriously experiment — sliding into lead parts that the audiences least expect them in. But Roshan, along with Aamir Khan, has been doing this for decades!
A film like Super 30, in that sense, is purely par for the course for Roshan. Without doubt, he passes the test. As does the film, which starts off with actor Vijay Verma narrating the story of how his character from Bihar rose to prominence in science, because a teacher took bets on similarly underprivileged kids — providing them food, stay, and free coaching to crack the IIT-JEE, that holy grail of India's higher education system.
Where do you remember Vijay Verma most from? Gully Boy (2018). Is there a similarity between the boys from Mumbai's underbelly in that film, with similarly poor kids in this, besides that they also perform a strange sort of street-rap (Basanti No Dance), before an audience here?
Well the fact is 'Apna Time Ayega (Our time will come)' for a wish/command, for almost all of India's economically disadvantaged mainly applies to education — their only escape route towards eventually upping the game in the workforce. And even within that, more specifically technical education, since English as an alien language, almost shuts off all gates for liberal arts in schools/colleges for most. Math, plus IQ, is a universal leveller in comparison.
This English/ non-English problem, essentially an extension of the rich-poor divide, lies at the heart of this film. As it does for India — making Super 30 one of the most relevant films for our times. Of course, the story itself — that of the celebrated math whiz Kumar — is known to many, if not easily accessible on the web. Quite keen to check out the Discovery channel documentary on Kumar, by the way.
How much of this film is really a faithful representation of the protagonist's actual life? Hard to tell, especially when you consider the song, dance, love-interest (Mrunal Thakur), Agneepath-type climax, etc.
No, I'm not gonna bore you with what this film could have been, rather than what it is. Except that one wishes there was a greater feel of the place, where this film is set. It's a bummer that you get a better geographical sense of Bihar/ Patna in a thriller like the recent India's Most Wanted, than a movie totally centred on it.
Suffice it to suggest that the script, treated with an arthouse touch, has a potential of an Oscar nomination (no less). But you already know, this is a 'Bollywood' event-entertainer, with an understandable mix of memoir and melodrama.
And I guess attempting a 3 Idiots (2009) type approach would've been hard to resist. Look at the numbers the Raju Hirani blockbuster managed to bring into theatres; even change lives, I reckon. Wish Super 30 similar luck with drawing in masses, and leaving them with a simmering thought, of course. The filmmakers have tried really hard towards it. It shows!
Watch Super 30 Trailer
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Super 30 public review