India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Stanley Ka Dabba: Not just for school kids


It’s easy to compare “Stanley Ka Dabba” to “Taare Zameen Par”. Both were written by the same man, both have children as their theme and have a school as the background. But the two movies aren’t similar, at least not in my mind.

While “Taare Zameen Par” was about the evils of the education system and messages galore for parents, teachers and everyone involved, “Stanley Ka Dabba” for the most part doesn’t hammer its message home. So that when the message does hit home, it hits pretty hard.

There are no tricks here, no fancy camera tricks or anything of the sort — it’s storytelling at its most basic and director Amole Gupte, who also plays a pivotal character in the film, clearly had fun while making this film and it shows.

Partho Gupte plays Stanley Fernandes, an impish kid whose charm and affable nature make him a popular boy. The only time the smile leaves his face is during school recess, when everybody around him fishes out little containers carrying their “tiffin”, while he looks around wistfully.