Hawaa Hawaai: One big-hearted movie

Hawaa Hawaai: One big-hearted movie

Amole Gupte takes a very predictable story and breathes in the magic of cinema to make Hawaa Hawaai a must-watch, Deepa Gauri writes

Published: Sat 10 May 2014, 12:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:29 PM

I have just stepped out of Hawaa Hawaai and that lump in the throat refuses to go.

Hawaa Hawaai makes you cry, makes you laugh, makes you believe in humanity – and above all, it makes you ask the question: Are you a good person?

Since the answer to that is beyond the remit of this review, suffice to say: If you love movies, watch Hawaa Hawaai.

It is a movie that makes you overlook its flaws. It is a movie that makes you not want to complain – about life, people or just about anything. It is cinema at its basest essence – sheer feel-good entertainment.

If you must indeed pan the movie, you could say that almost everyone in this film has a larger-than-life heart. Perhaps we being so conditioned to the meanness in everyday life, such saccharine goodness might seem superficial.

Hawaa Hawaai works because director Amole Gupte, who has also produced, scripted and written lyrics for it, takes the film out of its predictability groove.

No spoilers intended, but if you know the premise of the film, you already know how it will end. Yes, it is a typical underdog triumph tale. Here, the underdog is a tea-vendor boy Arjun (Partho Gupte), who watches children skate, takes a fancy for it, gains the blessings of the coach (Saqib Saleem) and goes on to live his dreams.

But where Amole Gupte casts his spell is in the way he has scripted the story, particularly the climax, where he so deftly links the race to the personal struggle of Arjun in the face of his debt-ridden cotton farmer father’s death.

Along the way, Amole tosses at us questions that perhaps we have asked ourselves at some point in time. What do the children who are forced to leave studies and do menial jobs really think about? Do they feel miserable when they see their more privileged counterpart being pampered? Do they dream? What do they dream?

Hawaa Hawaai makes your eyes well up every so often. You are drawn into the world of dreams of Arjun and his friends (the personalities and character sketches of all five have been brilliantly etched out). You empathise with the coach too, and his own relentless pursuit of his dreams.

With terrific performances from all members of the cast, Hawaa Hawaai grabs your attention all the way through. Partho, no doubt, calls for a standing applause. You are also awestruck by the young talent in India – every kid in the movie is fantastic. India should be proud, indeed.

Saqib Saleem is marvelous, and one of the best ‘coaches’ Indian cinema has seen. Mind you, not that broody, ‘oh, I have a backstory and baggage so I won’t smile’ kind you have seen before. He plays it real.

Hawaa Hawaai has a lot of goodness, and there are plot points conveniently fixed into the narrative to give it that Shakespearian effect – twists, turns, hope, hopelessness, tragedy, comedy and the final catharsis. And you have these lovely, talented kids. How can anyone not fall in love with this movie?

Hawaa Hawaai

Director: Amole Gupte

Cast: Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem, Makrand Deshpande

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