Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gippi will make you happy this weekend!

Gippi, directed by debutante Sonam Nair, is a precious little film. A little film, that would not have fancied a first day houseful theater, had it not been for the moxie with which Karan Johar's Dharma Productions backed the film, even to the point of getting a studio (UTV Motion Pictures) on board. And voila! I entered the theater today to find it brimful with gregarious flocks of people. Surreal wonderment! People do come to watch movies without stars and directed by debut directors even in Dubai? Super props to Johar and his phalanx to orchestrate what atleast seems an initial success for Gippi. It is a progressive film that touches upon a melange of mature topics but does not quite deliver to its potential.

Riding on a story and screenplay by director Sonam Nair, Gippi is another addition to teenage movies, amalgamating them with the breezy candy-floss of chick flicks, yet rooting it as a simple coming of age tale. Last year, Karan's Student Of The Year dwelt heavily on the pointlessness of superficiality of teenagers in school environments when pitted against the value of relationships and coming to terms with one self, all done soapily well. Gippi, takes a leaf out of the same book, and tells the underdog story of a girl who is overweight, not good in academics or sport, and fallibly makes a fool of herself in school. Yet, she has more pluck than angst, and more dance than speech. Gippi is subject to lewd remarks and continuous jest from most others at her school, save for her best friend Aanchal (Doorva Tripathi), who finds a lot of similarity in Gippi. The basic plotline of Gippi is fairly derivative, smugly sheathing itself in a 'accept-yourself-the-way-you-are' story, but it does set up a premise that handpicks many other influences. Gippi is structured around mint-fresh themes of puberty, sex education, dysfunctional marriages and families and unlikely infatuations of teenagers. The writing heavily derives humor and maturity from the above themes and wraps them around Gippi's story to respect herself before others start respecting her. 

Yet, there exists some lack of discernment on the writing part that did not allow the avowedly touchy topics to cultivate to their potential. For example, Gippi's brother Booboo (Arbaaz Kadwani) is a 7th grader who is trifle effeminate, with subtle references to his sexual orientation. The movie never addresses this openly, to avoid the risk of letting go of its breezy tone. Gippi's infatuation with an older guy, the problems of teenagers and much more are just left as they are without proper closure, as one has to understand that the film is written from the point of view of a teenager, and in his/her world, most of these things are fickle and maturity is occasional. However, one cannot disregard Nair's writing as it provides for continual guffaws and multiple endearing moments that sunnily melt most of the criticism. Music, along with most of the technical work in the movie, is well above average and it does not look like any cost-cutting or compromises have been done by Dharma. Editing by Yashahwini Y.P. is crisp at around 95 minutes, while Costume and Production Design is spiffy like any Johar film.

Riya Vij, as Gippi, does fairly well to fit into the title role and carry the film on her shoulders. Gullibly enough, she does show some lack of finesse but just like the dress Gippi is trying to fit into, Vij does step in and pull it off palpably well. Arbaaz Kadwani as Gippi's brother is the show stealer with bursts of goofiness and a prudish want for food. Doorva Tripathi, as Aanchal, is another great find who gives a bunch of crackling moments. Divya Dutta, as Gippi's mom, does well to not play the Punjabi mom by the book, but it would have helped to see more about her failed marriage and the cope-up period. Taaha Shah is wasted in another inconsequential role, albeit it is yet to be seen if he has more potential than this. Jayati Modi does well as Shamira, Gippi's nemesis.

Gippi is a charming film, that constantly engages and entertains you. As a critic, one does see the unexploited potential of the premise but as an audience, we are mostly happy with some feel good cinema. Go ahead, take a dip!

Rating - 3/5

Originally published for MadAboutMoviez here

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