Players: Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Ritwik Sahore, Seema Bhargava, Paresh Rawal. Music:Pritam. Theatrical release: Vinod Chopra Productions and Eros International
Rajesh Mapuskar deserves a huge round of applause for finally taking Indian children’s films out of the mire of mediocrity and attempting something that isn’t an insult to an Indian kid’s intelligence.
Till now children’s movies in India have got step-motherly treatment, barring a few like Vishal Bharadwaj’s Makdee and The Blue Umbrella. The less said about the rest, the better as most of them either talked down to children (and adults) or functioned on the belief that our children do not deserve a better deal. Even if one tries really hard, recollecting any good kid’s movie is not child’s play—they have been far and few between. The tragedy is that this is happening in the era of Harry Potter, Shrek and Madagascar!
So, full marks to the team behind Ferrari Ki Sawari for having zoomed in where others feared to tread and that too with a good story and some noteworthy performances. The film is a tribute to all the little gulley-cricket kings of India who dream big—of becoming Sachin Tendulkar one day and maybe driving a Ferrari.
Instead of the mother-son bonding theme, this one is about the ties between father and son that span three generations with cricket as the link and lynchpin. Thankfully the story stays on even keel throughout, without meandering into subplots or the maudlin travails of a single father.
The movie is about an upright clerk working at a Regional Transport Office in India. Rustam played by Joshi is a model son to a mean and cranky Debu (Irani) and father to a budding cricket—star Kayo (Sahore). Kayo is selected for special cricket coaching at Lord’s, London. However, the hand-to-mouth dad, Rustam must arrange for a lakh and half as the fee for this opportunity. After running from pillar to post to get a loan and failing, an unique opportunity presents itself to Rustam. If he can arrange Sachin Tendulkar’s famed Ferrari to ferry a politician’s spoilt son to his wedding venue, he’d be presented with the required amount. Much hilarity and tension ensue as Rustam tries to get and return the dream-vehicle without the owner’s express permission. And during this process, new equations are created and old issues resolved as we follow the Ferrari. At a few places the pace does slacken a bit and we do hit some weepy speed breakers and the humor gets a bit trite but all in all, Ferrari Ki Sawari is the perfect way to wind up the summer vacations.
Joshi and Irani, predictably deliver superb performances. Sharman, with his wide, ever- present smile, makes the almost-too-good-to be-true dad credible and makes you believe that people who actually go around hunting for a cop to pay their fine, do exist! And Irani, as the embittered old man who wakes up to his grandson’s extraordinary talent, lives the part of this unkempt Parsi meanie who thinks nothing of changing channels knowing fully well how much his grandchild loves watching cricket.
The surprise packet is, however, little Ritwick, who delivers a perfectly controlled and consistent performance and appears immensely comfortable in the presence of seasoned actors. Kids, even in the best of films in India tend to be either annoyingly cloying or maddeningly precocious. Ritwick steers clear of both these extremes and is a natural, both as the level-headed captain of his team and as the son who froths at the mouth when he hears his grandfather nag his father.
A word of praise for the supporting cast—the pillars of this quaint film. As the boisterous, bossy Babboo didi, Seema Bhargava, in her manly outfits and mannerisms lights up the screen with her feisty interpretations. And the understatedly competent Satyadeep Misra and Paresh Rawal excel in their cameo roles. Vidya Balan presents herself in a guest appearance doing a robust Lavani number in the exact shade of red as the Ferrari!
Pritam’s music, by itself is passable but seems redundant in the otherwise well-made movie.
The strength of the film is its script and Hirani’s dialogues, both of which give the beautifully shot film, much heart. The director, Mapuskar, is in control of most of the film. The climax does get unnecessarily dramatic and contrived and the film could’ve been better without the dose of tears. The movie plot is also at times cliched—all scenes/situations end just the way you expect them too. But, some theatergoers take pleasure in that.
This is a movie worth watching if you believe that good still exists and dreams do come true.
A feel good movie, which feels good in parts!
Madhumita Gupta is a freelance writer and teacher.