Dir. Amole Gupte. India. 2011.

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After being surreptitiously  usurped from his pet project ‘Taare Zameen Par’ Amole Gupte must have suffered many doubts. But he hang in there, doing a few roles while he worked on his script for this film. All that hard work and perseverance is there for everyone to see and experience in this beautiful heart warmer evocatively titled ‘Stanley Ka Dabba, ’ a simple tale woven with great imagination, understanding and heart.

Stanley(Partho), is an endearing 10 year old,  of indomitable spirit who struggles to ward off the hostile world he is surrounded by. Like other kids his age, Stanley loves to be amongst friends and win the appreciation of his peers and colleagues. He uses his sparkling wit and innocent wisdom to impress everyone... including the English teacher Rosie Miss(Divya Dutta)he appears to have a crush on. There isn’t much meat in the story but it’s  splendid treatment makes it seem so very luminous. Hindi teacher Babubhai Verma’s (Amole Gupte in a highly effective turn) ogre like personality and his uncapped gluttony forms the counterpoint to Stanley’s innocent though daring braveheart persona. T he camera eye is direct and insightful - Amole Gupte’s cinematography brings forth new direction  and fresh meaning to the portraying  of children on film.  He shot them mainly on weekends and holidays and they were incidentally allowed to incorporate their true personas within the characters they were playing. And the result is simply stunning. The performances all appear natural, true and sound. The narrative enchants and the excitement never wanes.

Produced, written and directed by Amole Gupte , ‘Stanley Ka Dubba’  is a film that scores on many different levels. Emotionally, empathetically and visually, it is uplifting, Amole’s unique presentation has a heart of gold and a soul that transcends age. This is not a children’s film , this is a film for all ages - for those who were once children and for those who are, now.

Rating:  * * *

Johnson Thomas

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