Amole Gupte is magical with kids. And that’s because he seems to be as much a psychologist as a filmmaker. After writing Taare Zameen Par, he writes and directs and also acts in this Bollywood movie ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’, another heart-warming film about children just being children. He knows the trick to touch upon the toughest of issues that exists in our society through a simplistic tale.
Stanley (played by Partho, Amole’s son) is like any other normal kid and is brilliant in academics and co-curricular activities. He used to wear torn, untidy uniform to school. He used to come early in the class. He would beat his blues away by beating drums on empty benches. He has the finesse to sell his stories. He has what it takes to be a scholar, but what is not so normal about him is his background. It is due to which, he can’t bring a Tiffin box on regular basis to school. Nobody amongst his friends and classmates would care enough for the reason. To them it’s not that a big deal and whenever the curiosity begins to pile up, Stanley would handle it with his immense talent as a seasoned diplomat. Babu Verma (Anmol Gupte) on the other hand is a Hindi teacher who doesn’t have a good reputation, not only amongst the students, but also among his school staffs. He is more interested in his habit of gobbling the kid’s food rather than teaching Hindi. His carelessness towards his subject and lectures is quite evident due to this habit. Students refer to him as ‘Khadoos’.
Stanley becomes his pet peeve because he never seems to have his ‘Dabba’, yet ends up having a daily feast with his friends. Why? Because he is the most popular boy in class and his friends simply adore him. He never approved of Stanley’s natural charisma. He would make him write from his right hand even though he’s a lefty. He would scold him for not bringing lunch and also if he borrows it from his friends. He wouldn’t even let him pee in peace for that matter.
Post Christmas holidays the pressure to finish the curriculum mounts due to which three more periods and two recess breaks are added. Therefore, students were advised to bring in more food. As a result of which ‘Khadoos’ turns into an obsessive hunter for food, plundering on the biggest ‘Dabba’ in the school. When he zeroed down to Stanley, then his gang decides to give him a hard time. They make him run from pillar to post in search for his tempting ‘Dabba’. But the fun didn’t last that long and ‘Khadoos’ manages to hunt them down. Completely oblivious towards his current reputation, he blames everyone in the gang for making mockery of his repute. But Stanley bears most of his brunt as he orders him to bring his own ‘Dabba’ only then he’ll be allowed to attend the school. Needless to say, Stanley’s missing ‘Dabba’ becomes a metaphor for his mysterious life….
English teacher Miss. Rosy (Divya Dutta) a hip- blunt cut and chic Sarees makes her the incredible ‘Madonna cum Mom’ avatar. The casting crew of the film deserves a big-pat on their back for placing the right actor into the right character. A testimony to that is Stanley’s friend who is slightly on the bulky side and is known to offer a palette of cuisines from his ‘Dabba’ to his friends on a daily basis.
Even though songs run at the background but they dwell so well with the situation that you can’t escape them. The sweetness lies in the melody and the simplicity of its lyrics which is done by Hitesh Sonik and Anmol Gupte respectively. In fact, all the kids in the film are perfect in their roles – almost as if they aren’t acting at all. A must watch for every child and adult. I give 3 stars.