Cast: Riya Vij, Jayati Modi, Arbaaz Kadwani, Taaha Shah, Doorva Tripathi, Divya Dutta
Director: Sonam Nair
Coming of age is a genre that has been often explored by film makers. That adolescent pre-puberty phase where you look at yourself in the mirror, magnify every single flaw and antagonise about the years to come has been the storyline of many teenage dramas and TV shows.
Sonam Nair’s Gippi however is the tale of a 14-year-old girl who is the butt of every joke and is ridiculed for her full figure and lack of being socially popular with her peers.
Gippi is a Shammi Kapoor fan who has his posters on her walls and lives in her own bubble where dancing to the tune of Piya tu ab toh aaja wearing a fur stole will solve every possible problem.
Her school has characters and situations that are inspired from the classic American teen drama Mean Girls and the notorious fashionable telly show Gossip Girls.
Gippi is happy being herself until she has a crush on someone elder to her. From that point onwards, her character goes through a series of events where we watch her talk about periods, explain the term horny to her best friend, decide to contest the school election, stand by her mom who’s going through a separation and eventually give that heartwarming big speech that talks about being OK with who you are!
A lot of this is predictable, which takes out the fun from some really well executed scenes. So when Gippi falls off her chair as her class mates giggle and poke fun, or when she struggles to get into that school uniform we know where the film is heading.
Riya Vij as Gippi is extremely likeable and a perfect cast for the lead role. She has this cool vibe which makes her act believable. She’s someone who you would want to hang out and spend a day with. The supporting cast especially the kids are fantastic. It is the grownups that drag the film. There are some touching moments that will resonate with a lot of girls her age.
Divya Dutta’s smothering act fails because of a weakly written character. The scene where she makes Gippi try on a bra for the first time is awkward not because of the situation, but the lack of chemistry between the mother and daughter. We wish Sonam Nair tried to dig in deep instead of lurking on the periphery and rehashing some already dated plots.
There is something innocent and vulnerable about Gippi that touches a chord, but it is the unnecessary mix and match of clichéd moments and mundane dialogues that prevents the film from rising above the ordinary.