The magic that a film with children as the protagonists can create, no other can! Shala starts off on an extremely light note. Indulging wholeheartedly into the deepest nuances of childhood, specially childhood in the face of poverty. But Shala doesn’t talk about the miseries of rural kids, instead it takes us into that world without screaming right into our faces. Instantly, I’m Joshi and I’m Mhatre and I’m rooting for them to confess their love to their school crush, or as they call it – line.
Set in the 70s, Shala doesn’t stop right here, it touches some deeper societal issues – protests, child abuse, name calling because a girl chooses to live like a boy, child-beating and the western influence on rural India.
Some of the teachers reminded me of mine. Specially the English teacher.
There are some beautiful romantic moments between Joshi and his girlfriend.
Although, the plagiarised background score (This) distracted me, but the moments and the intentions were at the right place. Milind Bokil and Avinash Deshpande have written some hilarious dialogue. I loved Mhatre – the loyal friend.
Now, let’s talk about what didn’t work for me –
The forced 70’s look definitely didn’t work. And what didn’t work at all were the last twenty minutes! The film took a dip. Unexplained scenarios, lots of open-ended -read between the lines -moments, and the end was so dissatisfying.
I’m not criticising the end, I’m just saying it didn’t work for me. You’d know someone who’d precisely love it for the end. I just wouldn’t want to leave the theatre with that feeling.
Special mention to the actor who played Joshi’s father. He was my favourite character!