Super 30 Review: Hrithik Roshan sheds star image to portray common man!

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Published: July 14, 2019 1:36:07 PM

Given the struggles of young Indian students from rural areas, the dilemma of Anand Kumar is something that the common man and the aspiring students can connect with.

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Super 30 Review: Hrithik Roshan starrer Super 30 is based on the story of Anand Kumar, a Patna-based mathematician who is known to have transformed the destiny of IIT aspirants belonging to the poor and marginalised sections of the society. So, is Super 30 based on a true story? What is Super 30 movie about? And you are bound to also ask what makes an ordinary teacher called Anand Kumar the subject of an extraordinary biopic, given that he is not a super star, a celebrity, a sports person or an iconic national figure?

Directed by Vikas Bahl, Super 30 raises questions about India’s “booming” entrance coaching hubs that cater to the affluent students. In this film, Anand Kumar is the son of a post man and is forced by the peculiar circumstances of his life to let go of a lifetime opportunity on account of the socio-economic inequalities in the system. The irony is that these inequalities involve the participation of multiple stakeholders – politicians, teachers, parents and students.

Given the struggles of young Indian students from rural areas, the dilemma of Anand Kumar is something that the common man and the aspiring students can connect with. The hard hitting reality that IIT students from poor families face is demonstrated through the film’s sequences whereby you spot a brilliant student chosen to study in Cambridge selling papads on a rattling bicycle simply because he has no other means to survive in a highly unequal society.

That Anand Kumar’s noble attempt is derived from his father’s guiding philosophy that ‘the times have now changed, a Raja’s son no longer becomes Raja’ adds an interesting facet to his choices in life. Following a series of setbacks, Anand Kumar decides to take charge of his life, bringing hope to those who cannot afford IIT entrance exam classes by announcing it to be totally free of cost and running into personal difficulties such as losing the love of his life and being attacked several times by goons.

One can also point out some obvious flaws that pertain to how the insinuation of sexual harassment has been tackled too casually and the ‘Home Alone’ style climax has not been remotely convincing on screen. The repetitive emphasis by Excellence Founder on switching on the air-conditioner falls flat at times.

Pankaj Tripathi is impressive and carries his role to perfection, every expression an artistic endeavor to portray and epitomise the ‘Mantri’ whose sole interest is to mint money at any cost.

The grim reality of ‘equality’ in India is further demonstrated through sequences showing bright and hard working IIT aspirants from poor homes struggling to strike a balance with the middle class and rich counterparts in a competition, not because they lack talent or brains or intellectual capability, but they lack the confidence to sit across the table with them as equals.

The concept of equality as we understand it today does not sit easily on the shoulders of India’s poor students. In fact, Super 30 goes into detail to show this.

When seated alongside affluent children, they are conscious of the stark differences such as ‘fine clothes and soft, shampooed hair’ and the ability to speak fluent English in class. These attributes have nothing to do with talent and everything to do with ‘soft power’. While these differences have been tackled with sensitivity in the film, many are likely to feel that the sequences have been exaggerated, a view that one can calibrate from the comfort and luxury of having a roof over the head and meals on time, which a majority of the poor students can barely dream of.

The portrayal of a student’s grief that leads to a sense of complete helplessness and despair form the crux of Hrithik Roshan’s realistic portrayal of the protagonist. While many are likely to criticise the ‘dark’ look that the actor has consciously adopted in the film, the focus should be on the subject of the narrative, the depth of the ugliness that reveals how education in India is a booming business that can be afforded by the middle class and the super rich yet completely out of reach for the ‘dark and dilapidated’ looking students that Hrithik Roshan represents through the character of Anand Kumar.

Super 30, in an unusual departure from many of Hrithik Roshan’s earlier films, caters not to the affluent movie goer but to the heart of the common man minus rhetoric or political positioning. That the hero is not ‘heroic’ enough in impressing the audience with highly unrealistic super stunts is the first big dose of reality we, as movie goers, need to grapple with.

Real heroes do things differently, sometimes too passively as one used to say of Mahatma Gandhi’s appeal to non-violence and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s soft spoken personality, but the results these ‘passive heroes’ bring can change the destiny of thousands!

Time to set aside our social biases as Hrithik Roshan dominates the narrative for the students who have no voice to express the multiple challenges they face and the actor gives us a reason to appreciate his choice to experiment with real ‘common man’ roles that celebrate real people and their real achievements.

By taking up such roles, actors like Hrithik Roshan are spearheading the possibility of a social transformation, a renaissance on celluloid, that ignites the hopes and dreams of millions of aspiring students who do not have the opportunity to study and prepare for IIT in the way that most others from affluent families normally take for granted. One can only wish that their dreams do come true, may their tribe grow and may more realistic movies like Super 30 show the way forward!

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