The film moves at a predictable pace, and though the kids are cute, ONLY that is certainly not enough!
We finally have Gippi, a film talking about a girl’s adolescent phase – but in a cool way, without making it sound like a sermon. There are certain elements in the film you will instantly relate to if you have a mom who’s extremely chilled out, a clumsy childhood and a puppy crush phase that totally went kaput. The makers trying to build a whole film on the concept of early girlhood truly deserves a pat on the back as this has been a barren zone and Bollywood has planted the first seed by highlighting this issue.
But director Sonam Nair fails to portray the verdure of kiddie times. It’s not the kind of film that will keep you hooked from beginning to end. If it’s slick in parts, there are also scenes that make you yawn to your heart’s content. For example the kids and their mommy (Divya Dutta) dancing on evergreen Shammi Kapoor songs was a delight that could be only temporarily relished, as we soon realise that the film is short of fun-filled elements. An offshoot of the many Hollywood teen flicks like Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You et al, this Dharma Productions movie is an attempt to capture the school times of kids when they are sandwiched between many a things they are unable to deal with – from peer pressure to wrong notions of love. And while it gives a beautiful message of being happy with the way you are and the way you look, the execution falls flat on its face.
The movie begins with Riya Vij (Gippi) who excels in tumbling – from playing basketball to doing her chemistry experiments. She is not exactly counted in the cool category ‘coz the school is abound with smart and pretty kids – who not only look like miniature versions of Kareena Kapoor but also excel academically. And to make things difficult for her, Jayati Modi (Shamira) – the wisp of a girl – is invariably mean to Gippi.
Meanwhile Taaha Shah (Arjun) is the one who makes Gippi linger over her cup of milk and gaze at the sky with stars in her eyes. She develops a massive – way bigger than her size kinda crush on him. But looks like she’s misinterpreted all his moves, as she is in for a rude awakening when the high school dude – who is senior to her- confesses that he doesn’t have an iota of feeling for her. And that leads the suddenly transformed Gippi to participate in the school elections in which she competes with the super perfect Shamira. She manages to convince her schoolmates that if they want to vote for an achiever they should go ahead and make Shams the head girl but if they need a friend who they can relate to, to be at the helm, then they should consider a fat chick like her – who loves to dance on Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe and relishes maa ke haath ka pakodas instead of green tea and ghaas poos.
The mother-daughter bond between Divya Dutta and Riya Vij is beautifully laid out on screen. Riya lives up to the statement which she makes throughout the film that she’s way too mature for her age, and that’s evident in the way she’s always there for her mom – holding her hand and walking her through the ordeal of watching her ex-husband get married to someone else.
But the film could have been crisper, and the humour a tad more spot-on. It is great visually – like any other Dharma film – shot in the picturesque locations of Shimla. Jayati Modi goes amazingly wicked onscreen, while Riya will get better with time, if she continues acting. Divya Dutta is lovely and Taaha is charming and steps into the shoes of a lost high school bloke pretty well. Gippi is an earnest attempt, but fails to satiate our filmi taste buds ‘coz of a rickety script followed by mediocre dialogues. We were definitely expecting more!
Cast: Riya Vij, Jayati Modi, Divya Dutta, Taaha Shah, Arbaz Kadwani, Doorva Tripathi, Pankaj Dheer
Reviewed by Deboshree Ghosh
**** Very good