Super 30 (2019) Review: Another Spurious Chapter In The book of biographical cinema
We have seen mathematicians in Good Will Hunting and The Man Who Knew Infinity. We have been introduced to Bihar and its culture through numerous films. We might know both its sides. Of its luxurious heritage as well as its current resourcelessness. We do not expect cinema to capture all the paradigms but we can surely hope for an honest execution which is harmless to take home for when lies decorate your platter, you become a slave to stereotypical imagery and a prejudiced outlook. Super 30 is another shameless movie that dishes out lies in the name of biographical cinema sprinkled with a pinch of truth.
Adapting to the beaten-to-death narrative structure of a much-obliged student Phugga (Vijay Verma) telling the story of his master, Anand Kumar, the life of whom this film revolves around, Super 30 comes out as anything but a film on the life of Anand Kumar. I’ll prevent an ordered comparison of the real-life events with those shown in the film in order to keep this as spoiler free as I can. Even I don’t mind exploiting cinematic liberties and diversion from factual details as long as it doesn’t lose its realistic ground. But I am totally against this gameplay in which filmmakers cash on our appetite for inspirations through exaggerated retellings reeking of poor craft.
Not only it is shocking to see how juvenile and rudimentary of an approach has been adapted to tell the life of a Bihari and his conditions, but it is also irritating to witness the distortions made with the events to create a larger than life hero, who already is larger than life hero and didn’t require a mythological treatment to come out as a demigod. It simply injects random traits about Bihar and Biharis to convince us of the settings with zero amount of ground research. Just because you know litti-chokha is a traditional delicacy from the culture doesn’t mean Biharis are eating litti-chokha every time it’s some celebration. Because people from the east (Bihar, eastern UP, Jharkhand, Bengal, and Assam) carry a certain tone in which they substitute singular personal pronouns with their plural forms, the substitution is not enough to get the accent and language right per se.
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Every other sentence is forcefully shoved down our senses as if it’s a revelation to the central character. Even the most ordinary of things are made to sound like some eye-opening truth, accompanied by extremely loud music.
They ensure that they don’t go all white on Anand Kumar. How courageously they show him getting blinded for money and taking a path we wouldn’t want him to and how cunning is this effort of setting a contrast between the first and the second half when the character reincarnates, actually is, becomes pellucid as we progress to the film’s pre-climax.
Not only that the film is marred by its contrivance but also gets gunned down by deficient character development pertaining to unnecessary subplots. The dialogues are banal and unexciting. The sound design is ruptured. And the editing is the biggest of all evils. Going through the film is equivalent to taking a drive through rugged terrain.
The screenplay is a set of cinematic episodes carefully designed to evoke certain forms of emotions from the audience, which the director treats as juvenile throughout. How else would you make us laugh, cry, angry, and motivated through the course if we are not considered dull-witted creatures who abhor subtlety? Event A is happening, event B starts dominating the screen, event B supersedes, event C germinates meanwhile, event B ends, the director reminds us of event A which hadn’t concluded, event A completes itself, event C follows. The climax is predictable and yet heart-warming for its inherent attributes.
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Anay Goswamy’s eyes through the lens, however, make the film look beautiful. Super 30 earns substantial scores as far as its cinematography is concerned. Adding on to its positives, the acting performances are splendid. Pankaj Tripathi does what he does best and Hrithik Roshan charms with his mannerisms. However, he terribly fails when he speaks. He convinces with his body language but disturbs with his vocals. The kids show immense potential and come out natural to the backdrop.
The film laments upon the shortcomings of our social structure and the advent of linguistic & class barriers in a rough yet important method. It works when it asks us to look beyond its cliched approach but remains unsuccessful in crafting a trustworthy portrait of its region and characters, both.
In its entirety, Super 30 is a disheartening failure. Anand Kumar deserved an attempt with a greater amount of integrity and authenticity. But since he was involved in the process as much as anyone else from the crew, he gets a fair share of this burden.