By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Thodi Thodi Si Manmaaniyan”; Director: Aditya Sarpotdar; Cast: Arsh Sehrawat, Shrenu Parikh; Rating: **
There is a point in the pulsating though ultimately fagged-out plot where the young protagonist, lost and rebellious, is handed a play in a musty paperback format by the film’s leading lady.
Puzzled, he asks what it is.
“It is your father’s play and we perform it regularly on the streets,” says Neha (Shrenu). She introduces the musician hero to the song of life. She is Shraddha Kapoor in “Rock On 2” with more integrity in her attitude than the pseudo-rebels who feel a nose ring is the most reliable signpost of rebellion.
She is easily identifiable in any crowds of protestors. You wish Param Kalra’s writing, so brimming with ideas on social reform and the young, could have been gotten actors with more charm and a narrative that didn’t seem so enamoured of its earnestness.
“Thodi Thodi Si Manmaaniyan” is a sweet, well-intended film with a lot of room to shift around the dynamics of the young as they reject sacred cows in favour of a freelance morality. Ayan Mukerji’s “Wake Up Sid” had done this with more conviction and elan.
This film carries the dead weight of its bristling idealism on its inept shoulders, trying hard to give us glimpses into impressionable lives as they leave behind the comfort of their roots in search of a life beyond their own structured existence.
Generation and moral conflicts run through the plot self importantly. There is Sidharth’s mother (played by Shilpa Tulaskar who is the best actor in the cast) who wants to protect her only son from his father’s bohemian idealism. Mukesh Tiwari’s street-performing artiste’s act would have been convincing if he didn’t have such a strong image of a villain.
Tulaskar has one dramatic confrontation with her screen son’s love interest where she questions the young girl’s right to cajole her only son back to a life she had worked so hard to keep him away from.
Throughout I sensed the presence of a writer who has a conscience and a commitment to a better future. Regrettably this is no “Pyaasa”. It’s just a wannabe reformatory drama, more admirable for what it attempts to say than what it actually says.
The young actors are sincere and they speak their lines with feeling. But I don’t see them breaking the walls that divide the inner circle in Bollywood from the outsiders.
If there was an award for sincerity of purpose, this film would be a runner-up.