If there’s one thing I got out of my earlier interview with Sonam Nair, it was this: the director enjoyed what she was doing, and didn’t seem to take herself too seriously. Her only concern, it appeared, was telling the story she had in mind and having fun with it, without trying too hard to make a “film” in the typical sense (perhaps the reason why she wasn’t tempted to throw in a star for an unnecessary cameo). Divya Dutta told me during our chat that Sonam is exactly the way she is outside as she is inside, and watching Gippi, I realized that the film is actually a lot like what Sonam appeared to be – fun, fuss-free, and without frills.
Gippi is a fourteen-year-old girl splat in the middle of a very confusing time – not only is she in that phase where she’s going through puberty and trying to figure things out, but she’s also overweight and has to deal with the insecurities that come along with it. Throw into the mix a first crush, school popularity hierarchies and family issues, and it’s clear that Gippi has a lot on her plate indeed.
Gippi, as Sonam insisted, is a very relateable film – everyone can find shades of their own school days in there. Even if you haven’t specifically gone through what she has, the overarching feeling of insecurity and desire to fit in is something that everyone will have experienced. What makes it better is that Sonam has crafted characters that are extremely likable – everyone from Gippi and her family, right down to that earnest boy who has a crush on her, will bring a smile to your face.
Thankfully, the actors also do a splendid job of playing these characters. Riya Vij is a perfect Gippi, mostly because she is a regular girl like her character is supposed to be. Arbaaz Kadwani, who plays her brother, Booboo, is adorable. Taaha Shah looks every bit the bad boy part, but brings across his character, Arjun’s, good side as well. Aditya Deshpande, who plays Ashish (the boy who has a crush on Gippi), is delightful. Unsurprisingly, Divya Dutta takes the cake – she’s perfect, switching easily between emotional moments and light-hearted ones.
The best part about Gippi? It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it doesn’t overindulge. Sonam set out to tell a very simple story, and that’s all she’s done – there are no excess scenes, no meandering, no added twists and turns to make the film any more than it needs to be. The result is a short and sweet story that will put a smile on your face, and after a hard week of work, what else does one need?
Go watch. Make a Mothers’ Day treat out of it! (3.5/5 stars)