The story of ‘Gippi’ is probably one that everybody who’s had an awkward and troublesome teenage – that is, everybody – would be able to relate to. Heavily laced with snippets of nostalgia, ‘Gippi’ makes you want to go back to adolescence and perhaps correct the things that might have gone wrong. Sonam Nair’s debut venture is a fresh story and depends strongly on the acting skills of these 14-something kids – who pull their job off pretty praiseworthily.
Pappi (Divya Dutta) is a single mother who lives in Shimla with her daughter Gurpreet – Gippi (Riya Vij) and son Booboo (Arbaz Kadwani). Gippi and Booboo both study in St. Mary’s School in Shimla – the former in IX and the latter in VII. Gippi is overweight, not liked by many in school, not a good student, neither a decent athlete. In short, Gippi is the most imperfect of all in her class, probably. Shamira Chauhan (Jayati Modi), on the other hand, is everything that Gippi is not. An impressive body, good marks, strong skills in sports and popularity are some of the many facets of Shamira’s all-roundership. Gippi is made fun of – mostly by Shamira and her cronies – and a challenge thrown at Gippi in jest changes the course of her teenage years.
Meanwhile, there are crushes to be dealt with, the hot teacher in school to be taken care of, ice-cream to be had for a good night’s sleep, and Shammi Kapoor’s ‘Junglee Hits’ to be danced to. Gippi’s life is haphazardly divided among all of these and the occasional bonding with her mother – who too needs a shoulder to cry on, and finds the same in her daughter.
‘Gippi’, while at one level, neatly draws out issues that teenage is peppered with, at another, leaves one with a few warm, heartfelt messages on life too. Sonam Nair, from underneath the director’s hat, does a largely commendable job of bringing on celluloid this story of coming to terms with the awkwardness and the beauty of teenage. The runtime, again, that of a meagre 97 minutes, is a huge plus point. The mesmerising locales of Shimla and Bishop Cotton School, where most of the shots are picturised, make one want to run to the place and imbibe the sheer beauty of the same. The conifers, the serpentine road that the sister-brother duo of Gippi and Booboo take to school – all beckon one with the charm that only a place like Shimla might have done!
As Gippi, Riya Vij does a fabulous job. She brings to life the many irritations and heartbreaks that teenage is so known for, and deserves a hearty pat on the back. Divya Dutta, in this film too, plays her role brilliantly. Abandoned by her husband for someone ‘better’, Dutta leaves one at a loss for words by portraying the plight of the single mother juggling between her beauty parlour, household chores and bringing her children up in the best way possible. Jayati Modi, apart from her manner of dialogue delivery, is believable as Shamira. Taaha Shah, too, as Gippi’s crush, is good. The rest of the cast – mostly consisting of school kids, support the main ones competently and doesn’t leave one with any complaints.
However, all said and done, ‘Gippi’ does lose the emotional connect at certain places. There are times the story takes a predictable twist and leaves one wondering whether or not the same could have been handled differently. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is good.
‘Gippi’ is a trip down memory lane – a trip flanked by nostalgia and a wistful longing to get back to those days which are never coming back again. Sonam Nair’s maiden inning is a beautiful one. Three stars for this one!