Cinema is all about narrating fascinating stories and if a story doesn't keep your attention arrested in that time span, the entire exercise and effort falls flat. Actually, the promotions of BUBBLE GUM never really caught my attention. One of the reasons could be that the flow of films is unstoppable and generally, one tends to notice films that star heavy-weights instantly, while a film starring new faces gets relegated to the backseat. But, sometimes, those 'small films' have better stories to tell than the big-budget extravaganzas that ride on star power solely. BUBBLE GUM, directed by Sanjivan Lal, is a prime example of this statement.
Bollywood has had its share of early teen love stories like EK CHOTI SI LOVE STORY, MP3 - MERA PEHLA PEHLA PYAAR and TERE SANG in the past. However, one has also heard of people lamenting that they missed their childhood, their first crush [which seems like infatuation today], sibling rivalry et al. BUBBLE GUM is all about this and more!
What really catches your attention here is the effortlessness with which the director tells a scrumptiously unusual tale. The beauty of the film lies in the fact that the incidents are very relatable and come across as if the story or occurrences were straight out of our lives. I am sure, those watching the film would be bound to say, yeh to apni kahani thi. Also, it's unpretentious and heart-warming. Besides, this coming-of-age story is sensitively told -- it's funny, has its share of dramatic and tense moments and of course, is rich in emotions.
A film like BUBBLE GUM also takes you back to those years when Facebook, Twitter, internet, TV and cell phones didn't exist. Sure, a film like BUBBLE GUM will not set the box-office ablaze, but a genuine effort needs to be encouraged. A pat on the back is the least we can do, so that it inspires more film-makers like Sanjivan Lal to keep the magic of cinema alive.
BUBBLE GUM is set in Jamshedpur in the 1970s/1980s. A story of coming of age of Vedant [Delzad], who has a crush on Jenny. Subsequently, the relationship with his parents [Sachin Khedekar, Tanvi Azmi] and also brother Vidur [Sohail] undergoes a turbulent phase, sending his world upside down. He discovers the true meaning of love and life subsequently.
A film like BUBBLE GUM transports you back to your childhood and the director, actually, does that. The difficult phase while one is stepping into teenage and the problems one encounters then -- however trivial they may appear today -- seemed so enormous then. One cannot go back in time, but films like BUBBLE GUM make you recall those years with a lot of love and positivity.
Director Sanjivan Lal deserves kudos for not just choosing a refreshingly novel story, but also casting actors who, let me put it honestly, bowl you over with their spontaneous portrayals. The young actors in the film, especially the brothers [enacted brilliantly by Sohail and Delzad], deliver endearing performances. Ditto for the kids who enact the parts of Ratan, the 'kabab mein haddi', Partho, the mischief maker and Jenny, the sweetheart of Delzad. It is evident that the kids have walked into their parts without any pre-conceived notions about acting. Also, I am sure, they must have bonded well, which is why the on-screen chemistry comes alive.
The parents are portrayed wonderfully by Tanvi Azmi and Sachin Khedekar. Tanvi is a complete natural, enacting her part with admirable ease, while Khedekar is first-rate.
On the whole, BUBBLE GUM has its heart in the right place. A film that arrives with zilch expectations, but succeeds in taking you back in time when life was simpler and sweet. Recommended!