Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Gippi: The pains of growing up
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)
Sonam Nair’s “Gippi” is the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who stumbles through life dealing with the typical crises of adolescence. Boys, parents, body image, acne and Shammi Kapoor come together to form the crux of this story, one that was probably written with the help of a handbook on how to script a teen movie.
Nair’s film is predictable and devoid of any surprises but also charming in parts. Gippi’s relationship with her mother (Divya Dutta) and brother are where the charm kicks in and Nair deals with these moments well.
But, like a bad driver, she also careens into clichés, using them in plenty while telling her story. There is the bad boy who spells trouble, the good boy who appears meek but turns out to be a hero, the unglamorous but loyal best friend and the mean but pretty rich girls who exist just so the heroine can make them feel small in the climax.
Gippi (played charmingly by debutante Riya Vij) lives in a hill town with her brother and single mother. She goes from fretting about her weight to being her mother’s sounding board quite effortlessly.
Nair maps her protagonists’ life issues with a healthy dose of humour, but it doesn’t always work. While Gippi’s conversations with her mother are heart-warming as is her rapport with her brother, the teen romance portions fall flat.
Also, Gippi’s epiphany, which comes at the end, is completely out the blue and hard to digest – it’s as if the director realised the film was ending and it had to be inserted hurriedly.
A film about the pains and pleasures of growing up is always welcome, but “Gippi” isn’t as charming and likeable as it could have been.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)