This initiative of PVR in releasing small-budget Indie films is getting rather interesting and what began as just another movie show to attend, I’ve now begun looking forward to what the ‘directors rare’ series puts forth week on week. Now showing this week is Shuttlecock Boys which as the extremely nervous debutant director Hemant Gaba clarifies much in advance has less to do with the badminton game. A story of 4 friends, each harbouring individual aspiration in a middle class setting where dreams are bigger than the pockets that can afford them.
We have our usual suspects – the stud Loveleen (Manish Nawani), the nerd Pankaj (Alok Kumar), the foodie Manav (Aakar Kaushik) and the idealist Vijay Prateek (Gaurav). Each battling own demons in personal and professional ways, they set out to start an enterprise together; laying foundation initially on each one’s merits and elevating it thru dedication and an extra tadka of bromance.
Heart-warming and soaked in metaphors, the movie is a sweet celebration of the spirit of mankind, the inherent ambitions of human beings to fantasize, to embrace faith and to take that one gutsy step towards achieving one’s dream. Each teenager’s life is graphed, in equal measures, as the movie zigzags between their individual stories but predominantly their easy camaraderie with each other. This marks the first win of the movie. Another special mention where the film exceeded my expectations is the background score by Avinash Baghel, beautiful seamless right notes, complimenting the upbeat mood of the film without overpowering it.
Having said that; Shuttlecock Boys’ comes with its share of problems. The foremost being the debutant filmmaker’s enthusiasm to stuff in so much uncalled for positivity in the film that it brims with pretence. For a movie dealing with a theme of unapologetic insecurities, in terms of finance, careers, relationships, independence, it’s a shame that the filmmaker gives it all away, a little too conveniently, making the boys emerge winners under every situation. Every Single Time. At some point as a viewer you hope to wonder what happens next, to bear that element of mystery but having been familiarised with the filmmaker’s optimism within the first few minutes, you almost spell how the group will overcome every hurdle unscathed and have their very happy ending. The performances are stilted and the awkwardness of the actors (possibly the first for some of them) sticks out on multiple instances although they make do with lighter one-liners. You can’t help but grin widely at the gullibility, naivety as they manoeuvre their way through the life’s hum-drums. You can’t help but egg-on for the underdogs to make it (even though you can lay silent bets that they eventually will).
Shuttlecock Boys with a simple story mostly overpowered by an incessant need to pack tons of mush moments, succeeds in being a good film, offers sprinkle of light-hearted chuckles and a feel-good sensation that lingers on.