At a time when almost all reputed names in the industry are planning mega-projects, casting top-of-the-league names to ensure a record start at the ticket window, Amole Gupte seems to be an exception. He casts a kid [yet again!] in the central role and ventures to narrate the boy's scratch-to-achiever saga, even when his world is falling apart.
HAWAA HAWAAI is all about ordinary people. Those who cross our paths every single day, but we barely glance at them. Neither do we have the time or inclination to think of their existence. It's the story of willpower and determination. And it highlights the triumph of the human spirit in the wake of adversities. It makes you realize that those who dream have the power to move mountains. It's about ambitions and finding the hero within.
After TAARE ZAMEEN PAR [Amole was credited as the creative director of the film] and STANLEY KA DABBA, Amole constructs the emotional journey of a kid who faces hardships at every step, but is unyielding and unwavering in his motive. Much like the above-named two films, HAWAA HAWAAI is seeped in emotions, moves and motivates you and concurrently, makes you applaud the indomitable spirit of the protagonist.
Let's enlighten you about the plot. HAWAA HAWAAI narrates the story of Arjun Harishchandra Waghmare aka Raju [Partho Gupte], who takes up the job at a tea stall after his farmer-father's [Makarand Deshpande] demise. A chance encounter with Lucky [Saqib Saleem], a coach, who trains young kids in rollerblading, and Arjun aka Raju starts dreaming of learning the sport.
From hereon begins a heart-warming story of five daily wage earner kids and their battle not for survival, but for living their dreams.
Amole Gupte's film is a sparkling gem because he introduces us to characters that win you over instantly. Amole has a knack of handling kids [recall his previous films] and the ones in HAWAA HAWAAI make you chuckle, pause and introspect at vital points of the movie. These kids, child labours all, sport a smile even in adverse circumstances, while most of us, blessed with a decent life, crib and curse constantly. Entrusted in any other director's hands, HAWAA HAWAAI may've floundered, with the characters looking more like caricatures, but not here.
Amole directs with a sure eye, while the screenplay [it holds you attentive for most parts] is far removed from frivolity attached to a majority of Hindi movies. The only time HAWAA HAWAAI goes off-track is when Pragya Yadav enters the scene. The pretty newcomer acts confidently, no doubt, but her character appears ornamental in the scheme of things. Also, the sequence of events in the hospital appears overtly dramatic and should've been abridged for a stronger impact. However, these are minor aberrations.
The soundtrack is situational, while the camerawork is wonderful. The cinematography towards the make-it-or-break-it race in the finale is striking.
HAWAA HAWAAI belongs to Partho Gupte, who astounds you [yet again!] with a smashing performance. He's the soul of the film, no two opinions on that. Saqib Saleem is relegated to the backseat in the first half, but makes sure he shines in several poignant moments towards the post-interval portions. I'd like to make a special mention of the four kids who help Partho attain his dream -- Bhura [portrayed by Salman Chhote Khan], Gochi [Ashfaque Khan], Abdul [Maaman Memon] and Bindaas Murugan [Tirupathi Krishnapelli]. Each of them get their act spot on, especially Gochi. Anuj Sachdeva [as Saqib's brother] is first-rate.
Neha Joshi [as Partho's mother] is a talent to watch out for. She is terrific. Makarand Deshpande, Divya Jagdale, Sanjay Dadich and Razzak Khan leave a mark in their respective roles.
On the whole, HAWAA HAWAAI is a gem that shouldn't be missed. A wonderful creation with heartrending emotions, this one's inspirational and motivating. Strongly recommended!