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Upperstall Review





Hindi, Children's Film, Drama, 2013, Color

Gippi (Riya Vij) is a 14-year-old girl, who lives in Simla with her mother Pappi (Divya Dutta) and little brother Booboo (Arbaz Kadwani). She is overweight and awkward and doesn't know how to handle the physical, emotional and social changes happening in her life. In school - she is a backbencher and is constantly bullied by the popular queen-bee Shamira (Jayati Modi). At home, she's trying to figure out how to deal with living in a broken home. In the middle of all this chaos, she falls madly in love with an older, brooding high schooler. When her love story comes to a humiliating end, and she is publicly scorned, she decides to take her life in her hands and accepts Shamira's challenge to stand against her in the school elections...

Gippi wins half the battle with just its choice of the tale of the underdog coming up triumphant. But, it still falls short of winning the war. The film, centred on a gawky, plump 14 year old loser finally turned winner, is (naturally) aimed at that very age group as its target audience. Consequently, the film ends up being more like one of the fluffy stories from teenage, school romance books. It ends up as just an on-the-surface film with a few introspective and touching moments thrown in here and there.

So yes, to keep it simple, of course, Gippi has to be a loser in all fields - sports, academics, and romance, of course, the hot young aspiring head-girl has to wear shorter skirts, (I overheard a 10 year old asking her mother in the hall why her skirt was shorter compared to the rest!), of course, Gippi will get crushed with her first crush, of course, there is the loser group of friends who will stand by her, of course... well, you get it. The narrative flow is too predictable at every level, the angst-ridden world of the finding-it-difficult-to-adjust adolescent is far too superficial and some incongruities are too obvious to miss - a world largely without cell-phones, responsible positions in school like head-boys and head-girls chosen by election, just to name some. And as we already know the final outcome, the director has that much a tougher job on hand to make the journey that much more interesting for us. That is where Gippi falters.

Still, you can't doubt its sincere intentions, and admittedly the mother-daughter track, even if just a handful of scenes, is nicely worked out and the best thing in the film. There are those 'earth-shattering' moments of our lives that most can identify with - be it the teens going through it or the grown-ups who have gone through it. The performances too are enthusiastic with Divya Dutta showing yet again what a seasoned actress she is. Though a little rough around the edges, Riya Vij is perfectly cast in the title role and takes you along with her, while Doorva Tripathi deserves a pat for her absolutely natural act as the best friend. However, barring Gippi's brother (liking all things girly and men), none of the male roles are well sketched out. And, even the casting of the new boy in class, Kabir, or Arjun, the high school senior, do not work as they look far too old for their roles and stick out like sore thumbs amongst the more correctly aged crowd.

The technicalities are just adequate enough and little else. All in all, Gippi is a film its intended target audience is likely to enjoy but otherwise, it is simple, stereotypical feel-good fluff at best and that's about it.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan





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