Tiny problems

The Plot
A gang of little boys live in a housing society, their lives largely unruffled until young Fatka arrives. Fatka cleans cars for a living and only has a dog Bheedu to love. The boys hate him until they love him. But by then the housing society bans him and his dog (thanks to an evil politician). Now the kids must fight to keep their two new subaltern pals.

+10 To that super-senti,Surf Excel ad placed just after opening credits, in a classroom setting making you worry that this is the pap you are going to be watching for two hours.

+10 For making the preoccupations of children largely believable: annoying dogs, boring adults, being routed in cricket, bizarre nicknames, the grossness of milk.

-5 For losing a grip on the children’s dialogue swinging from pert to creepily adult and back. Fatka particularly talks in the insane ‘apun-bole toh’ retro tapori-Creole that invokes not Munnabhai and when we were young but Anil Kapoor and when your dad was young. Though it does get a little bit funny when the other kids pick up the lingo from him.

+7 For The Moment when Fatka is told that he should join the cricket team because the colony team is missing a bowler.His response — Toh main kya nachun? — is one that Che and Marx would have approved of. Bring on the revolution and let it be full of tough little 10-year-olds.

-6 For making the politician an automatic dog-hater. This is not Cruella de Vil who wants the dalmatians to make a hip outfit. This is assembly-line villainy. Frankly, dog-hating is the biggest Mcguffin in this film. The kids start out hating dogs too. And for no real reason.

+5 For not resorting to hopeless sentimentality and twisty manipulation and sticking to a little sentimentality, a little manipulation and decent pacing.

+4 For the invisible presence of Salman Khan through the incredible subtext: such as the shirt-removing macho 10-year-old child labourer Fatka. We get it man, you made this movie. It's all good.

+4 For the plot point involving the feminine- voiced man first known as Googly and then as Manisha (and the moral lesson of how being different is okay). Nicely done.

+2 For The Chaddi Revolution which was good, silly fun, we thought. But then we are very biased.


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