Stanley ka Dabba = great

when i was told that normal (not recliner) seats, for the movie cost Rs. 250 each, i went still for a moment. 250 rupees!!! for an hour and half movie! bloody hell!  i bought them any way hoping, that the movie was worth it, and guess what, it very well was.

many people who watched it tell me, its got no story line. i agree. i does not. it is not one of those thriller movies, where the plot changes till the very end, filled to the brim with exciting moments and a very strong and well followed plot. this is not that sort of movie. this movie is very light. very simple. down to earth. and that is what makes it all the more interesting.

the story revolves around this fourth grader Stanley. Stanley is a regular guy, attends the Holy Family School, is popular, is friendly and is for the most of the movie, smiling. he comes very early to school, and very clearly he loves his school. he completes his homework in class itself and seems very bright. his attire, however, cannot be termed as perfect. his clothes seem tattered.  and he does not even bring water to school, let alone any snacks. this leaves him very hungry for the second half of the day.

his friends however are extremely sweet to him. they give him their food and he helps himself whenever he is offered. his teachers are very much like ours. there is one english teacher, Rosy Miss. she reminds me very much of one of my own, very, very, favorite teacher. she loves her students and she loves teaching. she likes Stanley for his funny essays and prompt answers in class.

coming back to the protagonist, Stanley is a very delightful kid. he keeps talking of his mother, who he says , is quite the super woman. she jumps off moving trains and buses, and many other, stuff that a ten year old can devise. at the same time, he is fascinated by the food his friends’ mothers cook for them.

the other main character is the Hindi teacher- Mr. Varma. he is a one of a kind and by that i mean there is no one that exists who is quite like him. he is the only un-realistic touch to this movie. he does not teach at all, at least that is how it seems.  he is a hog. and not just any regular hog, a super hog. the smell of food, makes him salivate like a rabid dog (i’m not exaggerating, that is exactly how it is shown). he likes to eat the food of his students. however he fails to get his own food. this makes him a joke among the teachers as well.

so these are the characters in the movie. there are many light moments here and there. there is this little musical for which Stanley enrolls to. and many other, quite absurd fights between Mr. Varma and Stanley. these fights leave wounds on both their hearts.  Mr. Varma comes around in the end, and his final letter to Stan is very touching.

all these little little things mostly make up the movie. then in the end of it all, we find out, a small fact that we were suspecting all along. Stanley is an orphan. his uncle (also guardian), makes him work in a roadside dhaba that he runs. he is very violent with Stan. however Stan has some support from his friend and fellow worker- Akram. that is about it.

what makes me say that this movie is brilliant – is that it covers all aspects of the life of a boy who lives two very distinct lives. he is an ordinary schoolboy in one, very bright, always smiling, joking, exaggerating. and in the other, he is a meek labourer, who craves for his dead, lost parents.

the fact that his boy, who has suffered and still does, happens to be so optimistic and so happy, is very astounding. it is beautiful.

it makes, the better privileged like me, think twice before cribbing about my sad life. it makes me cry that there are people like Stan who actually live that life.

this film is brilliant. it is a classic. period.


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