Friday, 10 May 2013

Gippi (2013) Review by Shivom Oza - Over-the-top, Yet Delightful!

3/5 Stars

'Gippi' is about Gippi (real name - Gurpreet Kaur), played by Riya Vij, a 14-year-old overweight, ordinary-looking, clumsy, poor-in-sports, poor-in-studies, unpopular girl, who lives with her divorced mother, Pappi (Divya Dutt), and her adorable brother Booboo (Arbaz Kadwani) in Simla. Gippi's life revolves around her family, friends and her collection of old Hindi film songs. Being a huge fan of Shammi Kapoor, Gippi lets her hair down whenever/wherever his songs start playing.

The only time she starts to get insecure is when she attends school. Having to deal with the constant bullying by the most 'popular' girl in school, Shamira Chauhan (Jayati Modi), and her gang of girls, Gippi goes into a shell and starts thinking of herself as inferior to the other students. Moreover, having to deal with the physical, emotional and social changes that accompany a growing teenage girl; Gippi only gets more cranky and introverted. In order to impress everyone in school, Gippi befriends a much-older high school student, Arjun (Taaha Shah), and tells everyone that he is her boyfriend. But, the truth comes out when Arjun publicly tells Gippi that he always thought of her as a friend.

This gives Shamira and her friends one more reason to belittle their favourite target. The clash reaches such a level that Shamira challenges Gippi to stand against her in the student elections for the position of the head girl. So, the battle lines are drawn. Our much-troubled girl's brother, Booboo, and friends, Anchal and Ashish (Aditya Deshpande), who is terrific as the nerd besotted with Gippi, help her out in marking certain goals (Hot Body, Popularity, Boyfriend and the likes) that would make her win the elections. The film is about how Gippi overcomes the odds at school, in addition to helping her mother cope up with her father's (Pankaj Dheer) second marriage.

Another important part in the film is Kabir's (Mrinal Chawla), the most popular boy in the college. Watch out for what he does in the film!

The film showcases several delightful moments - Gippi and Anchal talking about puberty, Gippi's inspirational speech during the student elections, her equation with Pappi and Booboo, Gippi’s makeover among others. The actors, who play the school students, have done a brilliant job. These teenagers have been given the best scenes and lines, and they charm you with their effortless performances. Among the adults, it's only the formidable Divya Dutta who impresses. The rest of the cast, comprising Taaha Shah, Pankaj Dheer, actors playing the school professors among others, have poorly-written roles and so, don't quite leave an impact.

There are various outrageously over-the-top sequences in the plot. One of them involves an apparently-introverted Gippi, who assumedly gets stage fright, suddenly breaking into a dance in a bizarre costume, while giving her student election speech. While it may evoke a guffaw or two from the viewers, the scene does seem terribly out-of-place and isn't in line with what Gippi's character is supposed to be. Another low for the film is the underwhelming climax.

For films such as this one, which deal with the coming-of-age of an underdog, you would expect a cracker of an ending. However, what you get is a very tepid version. Even the music, composed by Vishal-Shekhar, doesn't quite stay with you. The only hummable number in the soundtrack is 'We're Like This Only', sung by Dadlani. The rest of the songs do not go well with the theme of the movie. Leaving these aforementioned drawbacks aside, 'Gippi' does pack in several feel-good moments and considering that it's been made by a debutante director Sonam Nair, the film is a decent effort. The best thing about this teenage movie was that it ENTIRELY revolved around a girl, which seldom happens in our part of the world. Obviously, we love 'Gattu', 'Stanley Ka Dabba' among other children-based films, but it's good to know that someone has made a 'Gippi'!

For those of us who've passed out of school and college, 'Gippi' is a fairly good nostalgic ride. Those of you who are still studying, you may watch and learn.

The film teaches you to get rid of your own insecurities and accept other people's weaknesses. And, one must add, it does a good job of doing that!

Shivom Oza

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