At some or the other point of their lives, every individual aspires to be an entrepreneur. A moment comes in the lives of many a people wherein they want to leave their dreary existence of jobs and take a risk of starting their own venture, result notwithstanding. Wherein, they get a chance to fulfil their dreams, get to be their own boss and call the shots.
Shuttlecock Boys ,directed by Hemant Gaba, tells the story of four such individuals Loveleen (Manish Nawani), Pankaj (Alok Kumar), Manav (Aakar Kaushik) and Gaurav (Vijay Prateek) who want to start their own venture to overcome their ordinary existence and with an aim to achieve something in life. The boys meet every evening for a game of badminton(hence the title ‘Shuttlecock Boys’) which also is interspersed with sharing each other’s joys and sorrows.
While Pankaj is a reluctant C.A aspirant, Manav is a cook who has lost his job and Gaurav is unhappy selling credit cards while being mocked by his other peers who are slowly inching towards successful corporate careers. Overcome by their dreary existence, the three hit upon an idea of starting a catering business. While Manav, Gaurav and Pankaj are gung-ho about the venture, Loveleen is reluctant to leave his call centre job and help the business. But since, they are best friends he can’t help but assist his buddies in their venture, while continuing with his job.
Everybody loves the story of an underdog and wants an underdog to win, especially in the movies. Because everybody amongst the audiences identifies with the dreams, aspiration, trials and tribulations of an underdog and want them to win. Like in most of the underdog movies, you know that despite the most adverse situations and problems, the protagonists will come out unscathed. They will emerge as a winner against all odds, because that is what the audiences want. To see such people emerge as winners against all odds as instill a sense of hope amongst the audiences. It is the journey that leads the protagonists that matters in such films. And director Hemant Gaba does a good job of depicting the struggle of the Shuttlecock Boys , thereby making a connect with the audiences.
The camaraderie and the bromance amongst the protagonists is natural and heartfelt. The way the boys make their journey amongst various problems such as parental opposition, lack of finances, heartbreaks is very nicely depicted despite a few blemishes. And as a result, the viewer can’t help but root for the boys as they march towards their goal.
Some scenes deserve a special mention as they very nicely bring out the nuances of everyday lives. Like the scene in the vegetable market when Pankaj hides from his father to whom Manav calls out, as Pankaj had lied to his father about going to study. Another scene which stands out is that of Gaurav’s outburst when his girlfriends breaks up with him over the phone in the midst of preparing an important catering order. Devoid of unwanted melodrama, the scene nicely conveys Gaurav’s outburst and the determination of the boys to overcome such heartbreaks as they give a tight hug to each other. And then Gaurav veers the conversation to the task at their hand, thereby indicating that he has already overcome the heartbreak. The opening scenes swiftly establishes the protagonists with the absence of dialogues and just background music to enhance the scenes.
Though the film doesn’t show much about the game of Badminton, still one would like to thank the director for making a film that for a change focuses on this relatively lesser shown sport in Indian cinema. The film is shot very nicely by the cinematographer Shanti Bhushan amidst the busy streets and narrow bylanes of Delhi, thereby giving a nice feel of the daily life in Delhi. Avinash Baghel’s background score is well composed and rightly conveys the mood of the scenes and the characters. Amongst the songs, ‘Chala Chal’ stayed in my mind even after the film ended.
However, the film does have it’s fair share of flaws. A few major key scenes have compromised upon to keep the length in check. And elaborating on some of those scenes would have only helped in elevating the film especially the ending scene. The scene in which the restaurant owner confronts the boys after discovering that they have been using his hotel’s kitchen could have easily been prolonged for a more convincing effect. Also, a scene in which Loveleen hands out his wrist watch to a rickshaw wallah when he is unable to pay the fare seems straight out of a YRF/K’Jo flick.
At times the director’s penchant to put the boys in seemingly impossible situations and make them emerge as winners out of the same every single time seems a bit too much at times, for a film that is giving a realistic depiction of everyday life and human struggles and hope.
The performances by the four lead actors are natural despite a few rough edges. The traits of the individual characters are very well brought out by the respective characters. Manish Nawani especially has a good screen presence. Alok Kumar also depicts the nerdish traits of his character very well. Vijay Prateek convincingly brings out the pathos and earnestness of his character. Aakar Kaushik as Manav stands out with his portrayal of the sleepyhead yet focussed individual who wants to his catering venture to become a success at any cost. The scenes which depict the sleepy nature of his character are very funny and life like.
Despite the flaws in the movie, Shuttlecock Boys manages to win the audiences in the end. Because the film celebrates the triumph of human spirit , courage and dedication and gives the audiences a sense of hope and the courage to follow one’s dreams and aspirations whatever the result maybe. Like one of the characters in the film says, even if we don’t make it in the end, we will be happy for the fact that we atleast tried to chase our dreams.
In the end, it is very important to promote films like Shuttlecock Boys because they promote a cinema which is fresh and speaks to it’s audience in a very honest way and connects with them. As rightly tweeted by Mayank Shekhar a few days ago, PVR is doing a very good job by promoting small budget and Indie cinema through Director’s rare. My only request to them is to release such films outside the vicinity of their Lower Parel and Juhu multiplexes as well. As films like Shuttlecock Boys, Supermen of Malegaon etc are genuine crowd pleasers and have the capability to connect with all kinds of viewers.