Super 30: Nothing so super about this film

The bronzer on Hrithik Roshan’s face and the pretence in his accent are not the biggest problems of Super 30. Vikas Bahl’s film has the vision, it has the struggle, tragedy, even the romance. But too much of each, and blended in a bizarre fashion. The narrative is clumsy and Roshan’s acting more so.

Super 30 is about Patna based mathematician and genius, Anand Kumar, and how he let go of his Cambridge dream, eventually to realise that he was meant for greater things – imparting education. I take away two brilliant messages from this story. One, that a King’s son will not be a King, only he who deserves to be one shall sit on the throne; and two education is most important and it defines who we become, both professionally and personally. The premise of the film is great, nothing short of genius. But the writing is lazy, and at most places, too stretched. While there are some scenes that steal your heart away, but most aren’t involving Roshan’s Anand or the “Super 30” kids he teaches. In a film about education and it’s importance, family moments among Anand’s family and Mrunal Thakur’s eyes take a lot of the credit.

Apart from being a lazily written film, director Vikas Bahl and writer Sanjeev Dutta fail to distinguish between Hrithik Roshan the star and the actor. Not for a single second did I think that Roshan fit the bill. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Roshan isn’t a great actor, but that this film wasn’t for him. He manages to charm us, for sure, but not enough. The worst thing about his portrayal of Anand was that he made it seem like a coming together of Rohit (Koi Mil Gaya) and Ethan (Guzaarish), which was very unnecessary. And since I’ve already mentioned the skin darkening and his pretentious Bihari accent, I won’t do that again. Towards the end, there’s also a reference of jab koi problem mein hi toh aankein band karke apne maa baap ka naam lo, and I was just thinking why did we need this K3G dialogue?

While Roshan is almost in every frame of the film, Virendra Saxena as his father and each of the 30 kids he teaches take the cake. Saxena plays an old postman, wanting to educate his sons, constantly reminding them to not only dream but also fulfil them. And that’s exactly what Anand does through these 30 kids and subsequently more. The climax scene, when the IIT entrance results are announced could’ve been a very emotional scene, as was the climax in Rani Mukerji’s Hichki, but here, somehow, it doesn’t work for me.

Pankaj Tripathi does the best with whatever he’s given but that doesn’t do any justice to his talent. The lovely Mrunal Thakur played Sonia in one of last year’s best films, Love Sonia and set that as a benchmark for herself. As Supriya I’m Super 30, she delivers as beautifully as she did in her debut film, but is limited and wasted. Thakur is a powerhouse performer and she does with Supriya what she’s supposed to do, and more, but the writing of the character doesn’t do any justice to her talent. Maybe after a niche film like Love Sonia, Thakur wanted to prove to the world that she can be a commercial film’s leading lady also (which she definitely can) and this sure will be a feather in her cap, but I’d love to see her in roles where she pushes the bar as she did with just her debut film.

Lastly, what’s important to note before watching Super 30 is that it is a Vikas Bahl film. He has been blamed in the #MeToo movement and even thought in early June he was cleared of charges, he has himself claimed to Anurag Kashyap (producer) that he has committed the assault. Keeping the art and the artist as two separate identities doesn’t even sound good on paper, let alone in real life practicality, because your art is a creation of your ideologies and assault isn’t an ideology I support.

All in all, perhaps Nawazuddin Siddiqui could’ve played Anand Kumar and then, it would’ve been a better film. Now, it’s a clumsy mess, where the lead actor can’t decide how to play his character and the terrific leading lady is wasted at his cost.

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