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Review Marathi

Dhappa review: Sweet film that promotes communal harmony through child protagonists

Release Date: 01 Feb 2019 / Rated: U/A / 01hr 55min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

Overall, Dhappa scores well in the game between innocent yet mature kids and unruly adults.

Mainstream cinema presents children's films only very rarely. Among these, films with a political message are even fewer. Nipun Dharmadhikari's Dhappa is one such Marathi feature.

Interestingly, Dhappa, that was screened at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018, was shot before Dharmadhikari's official debut, Baapjanma (2017), was made.

Dhappa revolves around a group of kids — Suhrud (Akash Kamble), Sharavi (Sharavi Kulkarni) and others — living in a housing society. Like all children, they too are naughty and fun-loving, but at the same time, are intelligent and mature too.

Suhrud, though paralysed and wheelchair-bound, is a genius. Alongwith an impeccable general knowledge, Suhrud is also a talented musician. He is nicknamed Hawking (after Stephen Hawking) for his qualities. His parents (Iravati Harshe and Girish Kulkarni) are proud of their son. Sharavi is the mature leader of the group.

The kids are excited for the upcoming Ganeshotsav festival and plan to put up a play with the help of Anuradha (Vrushali Kulkarni), a woman staying in their building. However, they are unaware of the unexpected obstacle in store for them.

Dhappa gives a strong message against communalism, which is very relevant considering the situation in the country. However, the film follows a very gentle and subtle method of storytelling. It does make a hard-hitting statement and quite boldly calls rowdy politicians dahashatvaadi, meaning terrorists.

But the mood of the film is largely light-hearted. Dharmadhikari's Baapjanma too had the right balance of serious and humorous content.

Dhappa takes its time to bring in the main conflict. There comes a moment when you wonder what exactly the main story of the film is. But the character traits of the kids and the ensuing humour avoids making it a dry watch.

The biggest triumph of Dhappa is the secret mission the kids undertake, and its execution. They quite smartly use modern technology to complete their task. The film very aptly uses the medium of theatre to send across its message.

The only flaw here is that the children fail to consider the most obvious threat to their mission. This wasn’t expected as they are shown to be too intelligent. Few other creative liberties have been taken which can be easily overlooked.

Making a film with kids in the lead can be quite a task. Dhappa has as many as 19 children in the cast. To extract fine performances from all of them, that too in your first film, is an achievement indeed.

Akash Kamble, who plays Suhrud, is wheelchair-bound in real life too and displays mature acting skills. Sharavi Kulkarni fits her character to the T.

The film has some fine acts from a number of other artistes including Vrushali Kulkarni, Iravati Harshe, Girish Kulkarni and Sunil Barve, among others. Chandrakant Kale does complete justice to the character of the grumpy and short-tempered Soman Kaka.

Shrikant Yadav is impressive as a man who tries to hide his ideologies. Umesh Jagtap, too, succeeds as the menacing politician.

Overall, Dhappa scores well in the game between innocent yet mature kids and unruly adults.

Related topics

MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

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