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Review Bengali

Habji Gabji review: Stark film on the consequences of irresponsible parenting and mobile game addiction

Release Date: 03 Jun 2022 / Rated: U / 02hr 07min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

Directed by Raj Chakraborty, the film has a simplistic storyline that addresses the central theme in a straightforward manner.

Raj Chakraborty’s film Habji Gabji (2022), starring Parambrata Chatterjee, Subhasree Ganguly and Samontak Dyuti Maitra, addresses the issue of children’s addiction to mobile games and its drastic effects.

With a clear storyline, the film explores how irresponsible parents often find it convenient to mask their lack of presence in their children's lives with gadgets which eventually make the youngsters susceptible to various psychological disorders.

Anish Basu (Maitra), affectionately called Tipu by his parents, is rushed to hospital after he suffers a severe anxiety attack. As his parents Adi (Chatterjee) and Ahana (Ganguly) wait for him to stabilize, they also begin to blame each other and themselves for Tipu’s condition.

Their conversation reveals that to keep Tipu occupied, they introduced him to mobile games and were eventually unable to monitor his engagement with the device properly. However, it is easy to sense that their issues go beyond Tipu’s sickness.

The fast-paced film goes back and forth between a flashback and the hospital, making it an engaging watch. It is gradually revealed that Tipu turned desperate and aggressive after Adi and Ahana had tried to divert his attention from his phone after learning from the boy's teachers about his lack of concentration.

As it dawns on them that the situation has gone out of hand, they seek help from psychiatrists but in vain. Instead of highlighting the treatment options to counter such addictions, the director has focused on the stark depiction of the worst outcome of such negligence in parenting and addiction to games.

Habji Gabji has occasional funny moments that take place in a family, but overall, it is bereft of unnecessary light moments, thanks to Padmanabha Dasgupta’s focused writing.

Chatterjee owns the character of the selfish superficial father, who is so engrossed in his aspirations that he only fulfils his duty as a parent as per his convenience. At the same time, Adi is not a villain, but a character with whom many fathers would easily relate.

Ganguly’s performance at the beginning of the film comes across as a little overdramatic, but gradually she tones it down while playing the anxious and helpless mother, who is equally responsible for her son’s detachment from reality.

Maitra is great as a child, who is robbed of a simple and innocent childhood.

Manas Ganguly’s cinematography is in sync with the dominant tense mood of the film. Indraadip Dasgupta’s background score at times sounds way too dramatic.

The repetitive interior visuals of the hospital and also VFX-heavy sequences of Tipu’s imaginary world could have easily been trimmed by editor MD Kalam.

Though it is easy to predict the ending of the Habji Gabji, the director needs to be appreciated for dealing with the subject with honesty and attempting to educate the audience about the horrible consequences of addiction to games, which is often as dangerous as substance addiction. While the film doesn’t have a layered plot, it leaves an impact on the mind with the portrayal of the gradual intensity of addiction, which can lead to self-harm and violence.

Habji Gabji was released in theatres across West Bengal on 3 June.


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