With Stanley Ka Dabba, director-writer Amole Gupte (the Taare Zameen Par writer) peeps into the psyche of school kids. The film takes you to the world of kids, the challenges faced by them every single day, both at home and at school. It is a passionate cinema with kids as the central characters. Like the blockbuster Taare Zameen Par, this movie is also a slice-of-life which speaks a kid's mind.
The thought that a kids film is only for kids watch is totally over ruled by films like this. It should be noted that Stanley Ka Dabba bears no resemblance to Taare Zameen Par. Both the films explore totally different zones of a kid's life. Meanwhile, both films leave a deep impact on its viewers.
Stanley Ka Dabba talks of tiffins, recess breaks and a life of an orphan (Stanley), who can't afford a lunch box to school and is confronted by a cold-blooded teacher. Stanley (Partho) arrives to school much early than any of his classmates do. He stuffs himself with water instead of nutritious food, unlike other class mates, during the lunch break.
Through his sparkling wits and innocent wisdom, Stanley manages to win appreciation of his peers. He impresses people around him by doing things that amazes them, like a heartfelt poetry to impress the English Teacher (Divya Dutta).
We also come across pungent science teacher, Ms Iyer (Divya Jagdale), selfish and greedy Hindi teacher, Verma Sir (Amole Gupte), who affect Stanley's life in one or the other way. The story moves on showing how the kids come together to show the right direction to their elders, for example Verma Sir, who used to polish off their tiffins.
Simple, honest and sensitive are the three key words to describe the film Stanley Ka Dabba. It will take you back to your school days and you will start feeling as a 9-year-old kid. The film just limited to the classroom manages to move you emotionally and mentally. Especially the climax of the film is a heart-warming experience. This movie is a cinematic gem.
Gupte's writing is striking like lightening. He manages to entertain you with an interesting story having an important message. It leaves you feeling as if the story is about your kid or even a friend. It leaves an indelible impression on the viewer's mind.
It is reported that Gupte shot the entire film with a skeletal crew in the natural light, except for the climax, where a bulb was only used for the scene. If this is true then we must say that the maker has done a commendable job with perfect frames, capturing the correct emotions. The songs are spaced in beautifully adding up to the narration of the plot.
There aren't any visible flaws in Stanley Ka Dabba, however the track of Stanley performing at the inter-school contest could've been a little bit sharper. The film is at times slow paced as a snail and takes a long time to unfold.
Gupte deserves distinction making the superb film with superb acting, direction and writing. He has an outstanding ability to draw natural performances from the kids. Partho is wonderful. He is the soul of Stanley Ka Dabba.
The supporting cast delivers remarkable performances as well. Divya Dutta is as usual top notch. Divya Jagdale, Aditya Lakhia and Raj Zutshi have given good performances. Rahul Singh makes his presence felt. Amole Gupte was outstanding as a negative character. He makes the viewer detested about him in the film.
On the whole, Stanley Ka Dabba is a well-intentioned film which unravels a moving story. It is one of the finest films to watch as it sets you on an emotional journey. A total Thumbs Up!