Hawaa Hawaai Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

hhRating: 3.5

At a time when almost all reputed names in the industry are planning mega-projects, casting top-of-the-league names to ensure a record start at the ticket window, Amole Gupte seems to be an exception. He casts a kid [yet again!] in the central role and ventures to narrate the boy’s scratch-to-achiever saga, even when his world is falling apart.

HAWAA HAWAAI is all about ordinary people. Those who cross our paths every single day, but we barely glance at them. Neither do we have the time or inclination to think of their existence. It’s the story of willpower and determination. And it highlights the triumph of the human spirit in the wake of adversities. It makes you realize that those who dream have the power to move mountains. It’s about ambitions and finding the hero within.

After TAARE ZAMEEN PAR [Amole was credited as the creative director of the film] and STANLEY KA DABBA, Amole constructs the emotional journey of a kid who faces hardships at every step, but is unyielding and unwavering in his motive. Much like the above-named two films, HAWAA HAWAAI is seeped in emotions, moves and motivates you and concurrently, makes you applaud the indomitable spirit of the protagonist.

Let’s enlighten you about the plot. HAWAA HAWAAI narrates the story of Arjun Harishchandra Waghmare aka Raju [Partho Gupte], who takes up the job at a tea stall after his farmer-father’s [Makarand Deshpande] demise. A chance encounter with Lucky [Saqib Saleem], a coach, who trains young kids in rollerblading, and Arjun aka Raju starts dreaming of learning the sport.

From hereon begins a heart-warming story of five daily wage earner kids and their battle not for survival, but for living their dreams.

Amole Gupte’s film is a sparkling gem because he introduces us to characters that win you over instantly. Amole has a knack of handling kids [recall his previous films] and the ones in HAWAA HAWAAI make you chuckle, pause and introspect at vital points of the movie. These kids, child labours all, sport a smile even in adverse circumstances, while most of us, blessed with a decent life, crib and curse constantly. Entrusted in any other director’s hands, HAWAA HAWAAI may’ve floundered, with the characters looking more like caricatures, but not here.

Amole directs with a sure eye, while the screenplay [it holds you attentive for most parts] is far removed from frivolity attached to a majority of Hindi movies. The only time HAWAA HAWAAI goes off-track is when Pragya Yadav enters the scene. The pretty newcomer acts confidently, no doubt, but her character appears ornamental in the scheme of things. Also, the sequence of events in the hospital appears overtly dramatic and should’ve been abridged for a stronger impact. However, these are minor aberrations.

The soundtrack is situational, while the camerawork is wonderful. The cinematography towards the make-it-or-break-it race in the finale is striking.

HAWAA HAWAAI belongs to Partho Gupte, who astounds you [yet again!] with a smashing performance. He’s the soul of the film, no two opinions on that. Saqib Saleem is relegated to the backseat in the first half, but makes sure he shines in several poignant moments towards the post-interval portions. I’d like to make a special mention of the four kids who help Partho attain his dream — Bhura [portrayed by Salman Chhote Khan], Gochi [Ashfaque Khan], Abdul [Maaman Memon] and Bindaas Murugan [Tirupathi Krishnapelli]. Each of them get their act spot on, especially Gochi. Anuj Sachdeva [as Saqib’s brother] is first-rate.

Neha Joshi [as Partho’s mother] is a talent to watch out for. She is terrific. Makarand Deshpande, Divya Jagdale, Sanjay Dadich and Razzak Khan leave a mark in their respective roles.

On the whole, HAWAA HAWAAI is a gem that shouldn’t be missed. A wonderful creation with heartrending emotions, this one’s inspirational and motivating. Strongly recommended!


  1. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Hawaa Hawaai Rediff Movie Review by Raja Sen

    It is a rare and wondrous thing when students genuinely admire a teacher.

    I remember sniggering cruelly many years ago when my kid brother, extolling the virtues of one of those self-aggrandising heads of tuition institutes, resolutely referred to him as “Sir Vipin” instead of “Vipin Sir,” convinced of his greatness and boardexam-beating power.

    Growing up, we’re naturally disposed unfavourably toward teachers, but the few who shine through and make us believe also win us over completely.

    Merely being their student becomes a point of young pride, and we begin thus to look to them for perfection, unreasonably expecting flawlessness and answers to everything.

    It’s stunning, faith.

    And this is the wide-eyed keenness Amole Gupte captures so well in Hawa Hawaai, where a skating-instructor is merrily deified by his adoring children, hoisted by them onto a rockstar-high pedestal.

    “Lucky Sir, Lucky Sir,” they chime in unison (younger but wiser than my knighthood-conferring sibling, clearly) as their sharp-eyed teacher shows up to an empty parking lot — and encourages them to fly.

    Lucky Sir happens to be sitting in a wheelchair while cheering the kids on, but this doesn’t stop eager tea-boy Arjun from instinctively recognising a superhero. He sees the swish kids swoosh around on their rollerblades and dreams of wheels on his own feet, and the film is about following those dreams, come what may.

    It’s a smart angle for the film, too.

    Rollerblades, by their very nature — that of something normal stuck onto something normal to make something relatively extraordinary — lend themselves perfectly to the Do-It-Yourself concept, and armed with an ensemble of talented (and adorable) youngsters, Gupte affectionately crafts a truly sweet underdog story.

    Modelled on those American movies where fathers and sons build flimsy soapbox-racers that go on to beat karts many times as expensive, Hawa Hawaii is simple but wonderful.

    It’s a well-textured and etched film, one refreshingly lacking in villains — even the richest, chubbiest kid isn’t a meanie — and one that heartbreakingly but smilingly illustrates the disparity between the kids shown in the film and the kids who can afford to buy theatre tickets to watch this film.

    Which is exactly why you should drag every kid you care about to this movie.

    It is also the kind of film that may well have been dismissed as cloying, predictable or manipulative, but so stridently does Gupte’s sincerity shine through that cynicism is left at the door very early on.

    The film opens with a father singing an ode to the daily bread while a mother makes chapatis, and this, naturally, is a massive gamble, a move that could make the film seem dated, stagey and too much of a morality tale, but Gupte (who literally sings this song) endows this basic moment with such heart and warmth that it serves only to make the audience feel cosier about the idea of a moral lesson.

    Played by Gupte’s son Partho, Arjun is an indefatigable youngster, a well-raised boy who wears a constant smile to fend off hard times.

    Partho is a fine actor and an irresistibly cute kid — with superb Hindi elocution — and Gupte surrounds him with a quartet of kids who are every bit his equal.

    These four — Gochi (Ashfaque Khan), Bhura (Salman Khan), Abdul (Maaman Menon) and Murugan (Tirupati Krishnapelli) — play homeless kids working several rungs below minimum wage, and they make for an amazing entourage, the real wheels pushing Arjun ahead. It’s hard not to smile (and sob) at them.

    Saqib Saleem, one of those naturally talented actors lacking in false notes, plays Lucky, and he’s a great fit for Gupte’s cinema considering how his performances hinge on believability instead of bluster.

    His is a more demanding character than initially apparent, and Saleem handles it well.

    He takes one look at Arjun’s homemade skates and incredulously dubs him his Eklavya, his ‘unworthy’ student and true champion, and thus do the kids begin calling him “Eklaava.”

    Most of the cast is on the money: Makarand Deshpande is beatific and blissed out as Arjun’s father, Neha Joshi is terrific as the boy’s mother, and it’s always good to see Razzak Khan grin. But the kids are the champs.

    This is a brisk, enjoyable film, and while the climactic race is somewhat marred by an overdose of melodrama — Gupte’s far better at subtler strokes than the few broad ones he tries — it is rare to find a Hindi film hero more deserving of our cheers than Arjun.

    That unfortunate hint of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag in the final race doesn’t alter the fact that this is an earnest, important and evocative film.

    Important? Yes.

    Gupte’s first film, the marvellous Stanley Ka Dabba was better-realised cinematically and held more to cherish, but Hawa Hawaai tries to bite off more.

    And while its larger point about farmer suicides certainly ought have been handled more subtly, at least this film — like its characters — goes for broke.

    And that’s what makes it special. Or as Arjun would say, “peshal.”

    Rediff Rating: 3.5


  2. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Koyelaanchal Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

    Rating: 3

    Lawless land. Coal mining mafia. Men with insatiable hunger for power and sex. Gruesome violence… Asshu Trikha highlights all of the above in his new outing KOYELAANCHAL. The raconteur takes you to the world where might is right and the voice of the poor and the hapless never make it to the ears of the concerned authorities.

    Although the plot is distinct and so are the characters, KOYELAANCHAL brings back memories of Asshu’s hard-hitting gangster movie BAABARR. Also, Anurag Kashyap’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR and Ali Abbas Zafar’s GUNDAY. Is the film as absorbing as those films, let’s find out…

    KOYELAANCHAL highlights the atrocities committed by Saryubhan Singh [Vinod Khanna], referred to as ‘Maalik’ in the region. The only language he knows and understands is, my way or the highway. Things take a turn when an honest and upright District Collector Nisheeth Kumar [Suniel Shetty] steps in to take charge.

    As a warning to steer clear of his path, Saryubhan sends his trusted Karua [Vipinno] to warn Nisheeth. Things take an ugly turn when Karua ends up attacking Nisheeth’s wife [Purva Parag] and hijacks the car that has their infant in it. The battle lines are drawn…

    KOYELAANCHAL takes a reallyyy longgg time to come to the point. Ideally, Asshu should’ve established the characters and set the ball rolling within 15/20 minutes of the commencement of the film, but much of the first hour is devoted to establishing the characters, depicting bloodshed and the pathetic condition of the locals. The wheels start moving only before the intermission, when Karua attacks Nisheeth. It’s at this juncture that the writing gets interesting, when the two warring factions lock horns.

    The volatile confrontations, the drama that ensues, the new characters that step in [Kannan Arunachalam in particular]… it is as this stage that you feel that Asshu has got the grip finally. As a matter of fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that it’s like watching a different movie altogether, with the dramatic confrontations [between Vinod Khanna and Kannan Arunachalam first and between Vinod Khanna and Suniel Shetty subsequently] making an impact, so much so that you ignore the deficiencies that show up sporadically. However, the emotional connect between the kidnapper and the infant is stretched for no reason.

    One expects the culmination to take the film to its pinnacle, but the writing messes up at this point. The finale lacks fizz, while the VFX appear tacky.

    In a film whose middle name is violence, there’s no scope for music at all. The songs, therefore, are functional. Also, given its genre, the film rests heavily on violence and bloodshed [there’s too much of it!], while the gruesome and explicit sequences do put you off at times.

    Vinod Khanna carries the film on his broad shoulders with his villainous act. The veteran gets the opportunity and some heavy-duty sequences to display his mettle and he grabs the opportunity with both hands. It’s a stellar act without doubt. Suniel Shetty underplays his part beautifully. Generally, most actors would’ve insisted on being one-up on their on-screen opponent, but not Suniel. Vipinno gets ample opportunity to exhibit his physique, flex muscles and exude power. He doesn’t get many lines to deliver. He does leave a mark nonetheless.

    Kannan Arunachalam is in terrific form, while the ladies, Rupali Krishna Rao [as Roopmati] and Purva Parag [as Suniel’s wife] are first-rate both. Deepraj Rana is getting typecast. Brij Gopal [as Vinod Khanna’s trusted confidant Sadho] is competent. Asshu Trikha appears in a well-enacted cameo.

    On the whole, KOYELAANCHAL is absorbing and engaging, especially towards the second half. Should find its share of audience at single screens specifically.


  3. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Manjunath Movie Review By Taran Adarsh

    Rating: 3.5

    Some stories should be told. And director Sandeep Varma does a splendid job of chronicling the tale of Manjunath Shanmugam and bringing it to multiplexes.

    Manjunath was 27 when he was assassinated in 2005. The director creates a vivid portrait of a young man who was an obedient son, a thoughtful friend and an honest worker in this biopic called MANJUNATH. Working for the Indian Oil Corporation, Manjunath was a whistleblower, who exposed the petrol pumps selling unadulterated fuel.

    Unfortunately, Manjunath’s voice was silenced. He was shot dead on duty for doing what was right.

    As a film, MANJUNATH works in totality. Director Sandeep Varma presents the heroic deeds of Manjunath, putting together the events meticulously and crafting an engaging film around him. It’s an honest endeavour that oozes sincerity. A courageous attempt, since the storyteller remains faithful to the subject material.

    Sandeep gives an insight into Manjunath’s life at the IIM-L, his interaction with his friends, the relationship with his parents… the storyteller also integrates humor, besides a song or two in the narrative.

    One of the factors that elevates MANJUNATH to another level is its talented cast and the superior performances they pitch in. Seema Biswas and Kishore Kadam, portraying Manjunath’s parents, are outstanding. Recall the sequence when they attend a program in memory of their son. The sequence is sure to melt even the stone-hearted. Anjori Alagh interprets her part with complete understanding. Divya Dutta is absolutely believable. Yashpal Sharma and Asif Basra are effectual. Faisal Rashid is first-rate.

    Expectedly, it is Sasho Satiiysh Saarathy who wears the character like skin and is the soul of MANJUNATH. He portrays strength, anguish and simmering rage with incredible ease and conviction.

    On the whole, MANJUNATH documents the story of Manjunath Shanmugam in a life-like way. It is realistic, brave and powerful. Watch it!


  4. cr7 10 years ago

    • Author
      sputnik 10 years ago

      Instead of setting it in some village in Punjab and making it as one bad cop versus Sikhs it should have been about the 84 Sikh Riots of Delhi. Would also have been better if it was in Hindi instead of Punjab. Gulzar’s Maachis is already a excellent movie on this issue of police atrocities in Punjab and terrorism.

  5. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Manjunath Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 3

    May 09, 2014

    Cast: Sasho Satiiysh Sarathy, Yashpal Sharma, Seema Biswas, Kishor Kadam, Anjorie Alagh, Faisal Rashid, Rajesh Khattar, Divya Dutta

    Director: Sandeep Varma

    The 2005 murder of Manjunath Shanmugam, the 27-year-old Indian Oil employee who’d been threatening to bust the fuel adulteration racket in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, makes for an earnest and compelling film in the hands of first-time director Sandeep Varma. Cutting skillfully between his happy years at the IIM Lucknow campus, and the reaction of his friends and employers to him having gone missing for two days, the film opens nicely, constructing a telling portrait of the man Manjunath used to be, and the ghost of a man he’d become following his obsession with correcting malpractices in the petrol trade.

    In a smart decision that helps the film enormously, Varma casts new-find Sasho Satiiysh Sarathy as the courageous protagonist, who cannot be bribed or bullied into turning a blind eye at the rampant corruption. We’re introduced to Manjunath’s concerned parents (played excellently by Seema Biswas and Kishor Kadam), who wish he’d take a transfer to Bangalore so they could be closer to him. We also meet crooked petrol pump-owner Golu (the terrific Yashpal Sharma), repeatedly brought to task by Manjunath, who in a drunken rage fires the first of many bullets that kills our hero.

    Upto this point, the film is riveting. Varma paints an authentic picture of the Indian badlands, and reveals the lasting bond between IIM graduates, and with their professors even. There’s a bruising honesty to the relationship between Manjunath and his mother, and a palpable sense of frustration from his boss who wishes he would just let some things be.

    The film slips into a morass of clunky plotting in its final act, when the court case takes over, followed by the candlelight vigil undertaken by IIM students. It all feels very rushed and…umm…obligatory. There are other problems too. Repeated confrontations between Manjunath’s spirit and his killer strike a false note, and rock band Parikrama’s multiple appearances become tiresome.

    Yet these are minor quibbles in a well-intentioned film that wears its message brazenly. I’m going with three out of five for Manjunath. It’s an important story that deserves to be heard.


  6. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Hawaa Hawaai Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 3

    May 09, 2014

    Cast: Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem, Neha Joshi, Makarand Deshpande, Sanjay Dadhich, Razzak Khan, Anuj Sachdeva

    Director: Amole Gupte

    Hawaa Hawaai, directed by Amole Gupte, is about a poor fatherless boy who works at a tea stall, but nurses dreams of skating like the rich kids in the neighborhood. Like in his earlier film, 2011’s Stanley Ka Dabba, Gupte addresses themes of child labor, economic inequality and the purity of children who remain unaffected by it.

    Arjun (Partho Gupte, the filmmaker’s son) looks on longingly as a swarm of children his age gather every evening to take skating lessons from ‘Lucky Sir’ (Saqib Saleem). Arjun’s friends – four young boys from the wrong side of the tracks like himself – comb a scrap-yard to collect useful bits that help them assemble a nifty pair of wheels for their buddy. When Lucky, himself an orphan, becomes aware of Arjun’s passion, he takes it upon himself to train the boy, determined to turn him into a champion.

    Gupte Sr tells an uplifting story, but there is an underlying pathos here that gives the film emotional heft. Through the tragic back-story of Arjun’s father (Makarand Deshpande), the filmmaker draws our attention to relevant issues like the plight of farmers, and distress migration from rural villages to urban cities. What jars, however, is the melodramatic, soap-opera treatment of emphasizing every emotion. Taking a distinctly opposite approach to the one employed in Stanley Ka Dabba, there is a surprising lack of subtlety here and a tendency to exploit every possible plot point for lump-in-the-throat schmaltziness.

    Yet, it is the heartwarming bond between Arjun and his friends, the mentor-protégé relationship between Lucky and Arjun, and the inspiring story of overcoming all odds to realize one’s dreams that stays with you. In a charming scene, Arjun’s four closest friends – a rag-picker, a garage mechanic, a worker in a zari factory, and a street-side flower-seller – make up stories to their respective employers so they can take an hour off work to go with Arjun to buy a pair of skates.

    These kids in fact are the heart of this underdog story, and Gupte casts talented little fellas who steal the show. All four boys – Gochi (Ashfaque Bismillah Khan), Bhura (Salman Chhote Khan), Abdul (Maaman Memon), and Murugan (Thirupathi Kushnapelli) – a part of Gupte’s theatre workshop for underprivileged children, Aseema, have a natural ease in front of the camera, and pull off even tough scenes without a hint of self-consciousness. That’s true of Partho too, who last won our hearts as the protagonist in Stanley Ka Dabba, and who effortlessly conveys Arjun’s indefatigable spirit here. Delivering a performance free of all affectations, he gives us a hero impossible not to root for.

    To be fair, the adults are in solid form too. Saqib Saleem hits all the right notes as the redemption-seeking skating coach, and Neha Joshi is perfectly cast as Arjun’s mother.

    A slim story told with heart, Hawaa Hawaai is among those rare films about the hard lives of impoverished kids that’s never patronizing. Gupte deftly captures the innocence of children, and gives us some terrific moments that are genuinely moving. The occasional false notes notwithstanding, this is a movie that should be watched. I’m going with three out of five for Hawaa Hawaai. Strap up and zoom.


  7. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Amole Gupte on the film that changed his life – Meghe Dhaka Tara

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