‘Stanley ka dabba’

Of all the people in the world, I took my brother to the film. We both took comfortable seats in a practically empty theatre and the movie began without many advertisements. Just 5 minutes into the films, my brother slowly said “will this boy now grow up and fight with villains or not?” I immediately knew he wasn’t enjoying it. I bought him some popcorn and coke and let him enjoy his time!

Stanley ka dabba is one of those enchanting stories about a little boy and his life. Stanley is a schoolboy who keeps you worried about him throughout the film. In the very beginning of the film, Stanley is trying to evade eating lunch cooking up stories every single day. The scenes where he drinks water for lunch are really heart wrenching. Then his friends dig out his lies and offer him their lunch. There arrives Khadoos stealing his food as well.

The scenes where the students escape Khadoos’s sight everyday and have lunch in different places is a delight to watch. One day, their ploy is also unearthed and Khadoos warns Stanley never to return without his ‘dabba’. At this point, you are most worried about Stanley and are even angered by Khadoos.

Every day, when the little boy arrives to school without a dabba, he makes up new excuses, leaving you worried because you know he is lying. There are days when he comes to school bruised and weaves a beautiful story of his fight with his neighbour. The boy charms you into believing him but you have a strange sense of fear about reality.

Other than Stanley and of course Khadoos, there is Rosy miss. A quintessential English teacher character who makes us nostalgic. She has a boyfriend who she marries, a sweet smile, she writes ‘u rock’ as a compliment for students’ assignments and she appreciates every child’s existence. Stanley loves her and it shows.

Then there is this science teacher, a caricature for a Tamilian (I’m assuming. It can be any south Indian, actually) wearing jasmine flowers everyday to school. She doesn’t appreciate creative work; she is snappy, never smiles and evidently detests her job.

Then there is a new history teacher. He looks like the type who will appreciate children’s behaviour and be a good teacher. Well, we don’t get to see much about him.

Among all these people, Stanley and his bunch of friends are the real heroes of the film. The boy who saves the notice about the competition in another school, the boy who tirelessly comes up with new places to have lunch in, the right handed boy who elbow-fights with Stanley and every other kid in the school is the essence of the story. I must admit that each one of these characters is beautifully drawn.

However, the best part of the film is the little boy Stanley who lives his life the way we would all wish we could. He lives his life the way it was given to him, without cribbing or crying, without taking advantage and smiling throughout. He teaches you a little lesson about life, if you are willing to take it.