Imagine this boy in your mind's eye. He arrives in school much before any of his classmates to drum away his blues on empty benches. He stuffs himself with water instead of the nutritious food that his schoolmates relish during the lunch break. He covers up for his lack of social rank with the finesse of the most seasoned diplomat. Who is this child? What is he like? Why is he anything like he is? Wouldn't you like to know? Meet Stanley, the protagonist of the much awaited Stanley Ka Dabba.
Stanley Ka Dabba is the latest offering from the insightful writer-director, Amole Gupte that throws light on the everyday life of a school going child. The character, Stanley, tugs at your heartstrings with his indomitable spirit, while warding off the hostile world he is surrounded by at all times, everywhere. The film reveals how this is child-soldier, rises above his choking real life situation on the way setting a template for all whiners to learn from, even emulate.
Like most others his ilk, Stanley loves to be amongst friends and win the appreciation of his peers and colleagues. He uses his sparkling wit and innocent wisdom to impress everyone he touches. At times spinning-a-yarn amongst friends about his mother's flight, while on occasion conjuring some heartfelt poetry to impress the lovely English teacher, Rosy Miss (Divya Dutta). There are though teachers like the pungent Science Madam, Ms Iyer (Divya Jagdale) whose rigid beliefs smother Stanley's innovative science experiment with all the contempt at her disposal. Then there is the gluttonous Hindi master, Verma Sir (Amole Gupte) who emerges as the catalyst in helping the boys bond for Stanley's dignity and rightful place in the school.
The camaraderie between the boys comes to the fore when they thwart Verma Sir's desperate attempts to polish off their dabbas with all the guile at their disposal. The gang makes the 'invincible' Verma show his true vulnerable self for once as he marches from one possible hideout to another in the school premises trying to binge upon their home made food.
Stanley, the little protagonist of Amole Gupte's, latest film Stanley Ka Dabba shows how, like the proverbial lotus, can one rise above all the filth around and makes the world a better, beautiful place to live in.
The way he goes about bringing cheer to his colleagues and his little friends is what makes him the Stanley we all need to be in today's day and age. Wise and sensitive, loving and mischievous: living every moment as if there is no tomorrow.