There is a scene in the movie when the teacher gives Stanley a chocolate as a mark of her appreciation towards his beautifully written essay. With a sheepish smile, Stanley takes it amidst generous applause from his friends. He then tries to put that chocolate into his shirt pocket only to find to his dismay that the pocket is torn and is no good to hold his chocolate. This is one amongst the many bits in the movie that fall into place at the end.
Stanley ka dabba is a story of a kid who is special in his own ways. On the exterior he comes across like any other kid who narrates stories to his friends, sings songs during class breaks, and doesn’t miss a chance to have fun. But, the only shortcoming here is that Stanley doesn’t get a lunch box to school. It’s a problem only according to his hindi teacher Khadoos Verma but Stanley’s friends like all kids have no qualms about sharing their dabbas with him. But, Verma who himself doesn’t get a dabba is always preying on others’ dabbas gives Stanley a piece of his mind and asks him to get lost till he doesn’t get a dabba of his own to school everyday. This point in story leads to the big climax of the movie which I must confess is one of the most overwhelming and extremely touching ending to have seen in recent past.
This movie is all about the magical moments held together by threads of simplicity and honesty. Amole doesn’t employ any overtly comical, emotional scene to score brownie points. The movie just floats in a good pace giving enough depth for the characters to evolve and get identified by the audience. He sets up the proceedings so brilliantly that the viewer can’t really help but feel like he is in the same class as Stanley’s and is actually looking at everything happening right there. And of course, all this culminates into one fantastic climax that’ll remain etched in the viewers’ memories for long time.
Amole Gupte was last seen in ‘Phas Gaya Re Obama’ and ‘Kaminey’ donning the actor’s hat. Before that, he was credited as writer and creative director for the beautiful ‘Taare Zameen Par’. He comes back with this movie, now managing all the major departments and delivering a movie that’s just sheer genius of art.
Amol Gole, the cinematographer of this movie shot it in a handheld Canon 7D camera because they didn’t want to scare the kids away or make them nervous as the kids didn’t know at that point in time that they were shooting for a movie !! Yes, the kids were told that these were regular acting workshops and only in the end were they informed about it. These are the things that make this movie look life like and come across as a simple story with an honest intention.
Hitesh Sonik’s music and Amole Gupte’s lyrics gel so well with the scenes that they seem like dialogues between characters but with a difference.
The kids Abhishek Reddy, Saisharan Shetty, Aman Mehra, Walter D’souza and others have all done a brilliant job considering that they are the real supporting cast of the movie. Divya Dutta as the charming English teacher who Stanley admires a lot is brilliantly casted. Divya Jagdale and Raj Zutshi are good as well. Amole Gupte as the khadoos teacher just carries on the great work he has been doing lately. But, if this movie has to be remembered for one person then it has to be Partho Gupte(Amole gupte’s son) who plays the central character of Stanley and seems so natural in every dialogue and action of his as the lovable kid.
What stands out in the movie is the amazing control that Amole Gupte has on the narration of the story. Never does he let the rhythm drop and displays great control on his direction. For me, the dabba was a metaphor for what Amole wanted to convey through this story. It was a medium for him to give out the message in the end.
Its not everyday that I quote Karan Johar but here I go. On the day of the music release, he said, ‘There is no mainstream or alternative cinema. There is good cinema and bad cinema, Stanley Ka Dabba is very good cinema’.
Yeah, Stanley Ka Dabba is one of those movies that’ll try to give out a message without trying to be preachy or dumping that thought heavily on the viewers’ minds.
As an avid movie-watcher , I get disappointed when I watch tons of mindless and stupid movies churned out by the movie industry but still hope that every now and then on a friday there is a movie like Stanley releasing!