Overpopulation is one of the biggest ills plaguing the country. The number of people in this country vis-à-vis the education institutes available are fairly disproportionate. As a result, lakhs of students every year have to struggle and study hard in order to get a few thousand seats in elite educational institutes. The problem gets compounded when students belong to low-income groups and hence, their access to fine tutoring at affordable prices is even lesser. Anand Kumar from Bihar came as a godsend for many such aspirants. He gave free coaching to students and guaranteed them a seat in IIT. This feat made him a household name and now Hrithik Roshan is all set to reprise his role in SUPER 30. The film has faced lots of obstacles and also few delays. So does SUPER 30 manage to do justice to the journey of the man and yet manage to entertain? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse.
SUPER 30 is the story of a selfless man fighting for the cause of education-for-all. The year is 1996. Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan) has completed his graduation and is passionate about mathematics. He’s so good in the subject that he is felicitated at the hands of the education minister (Pankaj Tripathi). Anand manages to solve a complex mathematical problem, which has baffled scholars all around the world. His feat lands him a seat in the prestigious Cambridge University. His father Eshwar Kumar (Virendra Saxena) is a postman who takes out his PF to fund Anand’s foreign education. When the money falls short, he and Anand knock at the doors of the education minister, who had promised him help. But the minister refuses to help. Meanwhile, Eshwar passes away one day suddenly. He was the only earning member of the family and hence, Anand sheds his ambition and begins selling papad to survive. One day, he bumps into Lallan Singh (Aditya Srivastava) who runs Excellence Coaching Centre, an institute for those giving the IIT-JEE exams. He is aware of Anand’s brilliance in mathematics since he was in the college when Anand was felicitated. He gets Anand enrolled in his coaching institute as a premium teacher. Since Anand’s teaching methods guarantee success, he becomes quite sought after. Excellence Coaching Centre management even promote themselves by using Anand’s picture on their banners. Anand’s financial condition also improves as he’s even made one of the signatories. However, he soon realizes that some brilliant students aren’t getting a fair chance to excel in life because of their underprivileged background. Overnight, Anand quits Excellence Coaching Centre. He starts his own centre, where he decides to teach 30 students for IIT entrance exams for free. Not just that, he even arranges for their accommodation and food. Lallan obviously is livid and he tries his best to persuade Anand. When nothing works, he tries to demotivate Anand, saying that all his students who fail will go back to their impoverished lives. It’s important that each and every student of Anand manages to crack the IIT exam. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Sanjeev Dutta's story is decent and has the potential. However, the incidents shown in the film seem too unreal at places. The makers claim it’s based on a true story but some of the episodes of the second half seem fictional. Sanjeev Dutta's screenplay is watertight in the first half. There’s too much happening but it’s all written down well. The writing in the second half is a bit shaky. Also, the writing seems quite dated. The good vs bad battle is something we have witnessed in countless number of films before. Many of the scenes of the baddies are typical of the 90s films especially the manner in which they are plotting to strike against the hero. Sanjeev Dutta's dialogues are acidic and make the right impact.
Vikas Bahl's direction is average and could have been better. In the first half, he manages to handle everything well but cracks begin to develop in the second half and it shows. There are several loose ends; for instance, what angered Lallan and the minister so much about the Super 30 programme that they even get ready to eliminate Anand? The funny part is that Vikas hints a bit on the entire education scam. But for a better impact, he should have delved a little bit more on the topic. In the absence of the detailing, it looks quite superficial. Secondly, some characters appear all of a sudden. There’s a way of introducing important characters. In SUPER 30, Raghunath (Amit Sadh) and Purshottam (Manav Gohil) suddenly spring out of nowhere and it takes a while to understand who they are and what their relevance to the plot is. Similarly, some major characters vanish without a trace as well, towards the climax. The biggest goof up by Vikas however is in the Holi sequence. It falls completely flat. It also gives one a déjà vu of Vikas Bahl’s earlier film, SHAANDAAR . Even the hospital scene in the end seems stretched.
Super 30 | PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur | Vikas Bahl
SUPER 30 has an interesting start, depicting Fugga (Vijay Varma) as a kind of narrator who tells the story of Anand to an audience in London. The focus soon shifts to Patna and the beginning portions are not very well directed. But they keep one glued to the screen. A lot happens in the first half – from Anand getting selected for Cambridge to the struggle faced to get funds to his father’s demise to becoming rich and famous after being employed at the coaching institute to starting his own centre. Hence, there’s never a dull moment in the 75-minute-long first half. The second half begins well and the sequence of the competition between Excellence students and Anand’s students is impressive. But then things go downhill, in the Holi sequence. It’s bizarre to say the least and the intended message just doesn’t come across. The climax too might seem filmy for a section of audience. But it is thrilling and also moving due to which the overall impact is not affected much. The final scene is quite uplifting and is an apt way to end the film.
SUPER 30 belongs to Hrithik Roshan, no two doubts on that! He’s the soul of the film and the reason why one looks forward to the proceedings despite issues in the second half. He’s completely convincing as a Bihari and his accent, clothes, make-up, body language etc. are spot on. He proves yet again why he’s one of the most accomplished superstars at present! Mrunal Thakur (Rashmi) suits the part and delivers a decent performance. It’s a very small role but has a relevance to the story. Aditya Srivastava is quite good in the villainous role. Pankaj Tripathi is gimmicky. In some scenes, it works but in few places, it doesn’t come across as intended. Virendra Saxena is adorable and his character is sure to win hearts. Nandish Singh (Pranav Kumar) is fine as Anand’s brother. Amit Sadh (Raghunath) is too good and has a badass look which suits him. Sadly, he’s hardly there and this is one character you wish had more screen time. Vijay Varma is entertaining in the intro scene but later on his character’s significance will be questioned by the viewers. Rajesh Sharma is wasted and one wonders why his character is even there in the film. Manav Gohil is natural. Karishma Sharma is sizzling in the item song. As for the students, all have done a superb job but the ones who leave an impact are Ghanshyam Kumar (little Fugga), Deepali Gautam (Kusum) and Rahul Raj (Kishore).
Ajay-Atul's music is not of chartbuster variety and one wishes the film had one chartbuster, theme-like song. 'Jugraafiya' is the best of the lot. 'Paisa' is situational. 'Question Mark' seems like a good idea on paper but execution is weak. 'Niyam Ho' is played at a crucial juncture. 'Basanti No Dance' is horrible. Ajay-Atul’s background score is a bit loud but correctly makes the impact.
Anay Goswamy's cinematography is appropriate. Allan Amin's action is realistic and is not over the top. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty's production design is quite real. Subodh Srivastava and Niharika Bhasin Khan's costumes are straight out of life. None of the characters look glamorous by any angle. Vikram Gaikwad's make-up is praiseworthy, especially in the case of Hrithik. Mukesh Chhabra's casting deserves applause, in the case of the casting of students particularly. Sreekar Prasad's editing is disjointed and from an editor of such a calibre, a better job was expected.
On the whole, SUPER 30 has a fine first half but goes downhill in the second hour. Yet, the impact is made due to the high emotional quotient and also thanks to Hrithik Roshan’s superlative performance. At the box office, it will require a good word of mouth to rein in the footfalls.