It's hard to not love an underdog story. 'A less fortunate protagonist fulfilling his dreams against all odds' is an all familiar narrative that appears on the silver screen time and again. In 'Hawaa Hawaai' Amole Gupte spins this same old narrative and tries his best to give it a fresh treatment and avoid the genre-cliches. The result is a lovely, heart-warming albeit thoroughly predictable movie worth the ticket price.
The story follows the dreams of a tea-seller boy Arjun and his motley group of pals who help him in his quest to become a champion skater. How he overcomes various obstacles and achieves his dreams forms the crux of the story. As mentioned, the basic premise isn't very strong but the performances and the way Amole Gupte handles the various narrative elements is impressive. After the lovely 'Stanley Ka Dabba', he again takes up the issue of child labour as the backdrop and treats the subject tactfully and poignantly. As far as films made for kids go in the recent past, 'Hawaa Hawaai' is an extremely worthy addition to the list.
The music by Hitesh Sonik is soothing and compliments the mood of the movie. Shot mostly handheld on digital cameras, the cinematography by Amole Gole does feel wanting at times. Usage of too many close-ups makes the drama feel forced at times. Also, as expected the film has it's fair share of cliches in sub-plots including a Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar-esque finale.
The performances are a major highlight of the movie. Partho Gupte as Arjun fits perfectly in his role and shows sparks of brilliance. Saqib Saleem as the coach is likeable and effervescent. However, it's the kids who play Arjun's friends who steal the limelight with their charming and witty lines coupled with spontaneous acting. These four little guys alone make the film worth your time.
In the end, however predictable it may turn out to be 'Hawaa Hawaai' is a film that is well worth watching for kids and adults alike. Go and take your kids along for this lovely ride.
- Shivam aka @TheGhantaGuy