Kolkata, 12 May 2018 12:34 IST
The parents today, according to the film, are so ignorant of the idea of innocence that they accuse a little boy, who simply places a peck on his girlfriend's cheek, of molestation!
Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy’s Haami takes one down the memory lane by depicting innocent curiosities of children, their friendships and the daily routine in school.
The film speaks of issues that threaten a child's psyche and also refers to the recent incidents of sexual harassment in school campuses.
The director duo attempt to give out the message that parents today do not really participate in building up a secure environment for their children. Instead, according to the film, parents focus on the simple 'mistakes' committed by kids.
The film also talks of the lack of trust between parents and educational institutions and points out that teachers are sadly no more considered safe.
Though the film tries to bring to light the various aspects responsible for maligning children's world, it fails in providing any solution.
The plot of the film is not strong either. It is merely a collage of incidents from different households, a classroom and a school campus.
Bhodisatwa, known as Bhutu Bhaijan (Broto Banerjee) is a popular kid in school, who comes from a rich, business-class family. He is a fan of Hindi film actor Salman Khan and watches Khan's films with his father (Shiboprasad). His mother Mitali (Gargee Roy Chowdhury) is a materialistic woman. The parents have pampered their son with expensive gifts and by hosting big parties.
Chini (Tiyasha Pal), who is born in the USA, gets admitted to the same school. Her mother (Churni Ganguly), a teacher, and her foster father (Neel Mukherjee) are extremely cautious about their child's safety. They demand a psychometric test for every staff member of the school before Chini is admitted there.
Bhutu and Chini become friends. The pampered Bhutu, one day gets a mobile phone to class. His classmate and rival, Ajatshatru, informs the teacher and Bhutu is pulled up. While the two kids forget the incident and become friends, their mothers (Gargee Roy Chowdhury and Konneenica Banerjee) become rivals and seek vengeance.
The film also talks about the importance of educating the kids on sexual reproduction. Chini's mother informs her child that a simple kiss can make a girl pregnant. In school, when Bhutu places a peck on her cheek, she declares that she is pregnant in front of the entire class.
The innocent incident turns uglier when the girl's word is taken for the truth without much investigation and further miscommunication results in a blame game.
The sequences when Bhutu or Chini make innocent blunders and cause headache to their parents and school staff is made with affection. The teacher’s ability to see their innocence, not paying heed to the meaningless complexities is heart-warming too. These sequences truly make the audiences smile.
However, the rest seem clumsy, especially, the part that deals with sexual harassment on the campus. It is not clear whether the directors are simply denying the existence of sexual violence against children in school or are appealing to the parents to not be suspicious of the atmosphere of an educational institution.
The director duo have all the ideas in place but fail in execution. At times, the film seems to be dragging on with the help of stock characters.
Child actor Tiyasha Pal delivers the best performance and Broto Banerjee, too, lives up to the expectations. He turns funny just when he needs to.
Most of the other artistes deliver decent performances, though none of them really stand out. Actress Aparajita Adhya moulds herself well as the school counsellor. Gargee Roy Chowdhury and Konneenica Banerjee seem over-the-top at times.
The dramatic camerawork by Supriyo Dutta doesn’t add to the film. Anindya Chatterjee’s music, particularly the songs sung by various child artistes, add to the feel-good quotient and innocence of the film.
Haami not only lacks a close-knit plot, but also portrays characters as quite superficial.
Going by the film, it seems directors Mukherjee and Roy undermine the intelligence of today's parents. The parents today, it seems, are so ignorant of the idea of innocence that they accuse a little boy, who simply places a peck on his girlfriend's cheek, of molestation?
Your reviewer doubts that this is the reality of today's parents and believes that the directors have failed in identifying issues that could have made their plot more relevant.
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