Mumbai, 01 Nov 2019 18:00 IST
The film also sees actress Nandita Dhuri deliver a fine act.
The story of poor little children who aspire to achieve something big has always found takers in cinema, not just in India, but around the world. Majid Majidi’s Children Of Heaven (1997) remains a classic example as far as world cinema is concerned.
Marathi cinema has seen this genre explored recently in the form of Paresh Mokashi’s Elizabeth Ekadashi (2014) and Samit Kakkad’s Half Ticket (2016), the official remake of the Tamil film Kaaka Muttai (2014), to name a few.
Similarly, director and cinematographer Sanjay Jadhav’s Khari Biscuit (2019), which falls in the same genre, also has potential. The idea of a little boy trying his best to make his blind younger sister feel better about their life itself wins your heart, more so if you have seen the trailer.
Elaborating further, the story takes place in 2011 and revolves around Biscuit (Adarsh Kadam) and his younger sister Khari (Vedashree Khadilkar), who is visually impaired. The two kids, who are orphans, live in a slum in Mumbai. But Biscuit has never let Khari know that they are poor. He is fulfilling their late mother’s promise to make Khari think that she is a princess staying in a bungalow. Her mother is fine with Biscuit lying to Khari to disguise their current conditions.
Biscuit has always succeeded in doing so by hook or by crook. Even if it means making a fellow slum-dweller and mimicry specialist impersonate Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar to make Khari feel that she actually met these two stars. But Biscuit’s mission gets a lot tougher when Khari demands to watch the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
The two young leads Kadam and Khadilkar’s bond comes across naturally and they make you believe that they are actual siblings. This, obviously, means that they have acted brilliantly. Kadam succeeds in showing the determination to keep his sister happy all the time. Khadilkar’s expression and manner of speaking instantly make you root for her.
The film is not just about the two of them. Nandita Dhuri, who plays an influential lady called Mai, also delivers perfectly. She has been consistently giving fine performances in recent years in films like Elizabeth Ekadashi, Ani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar (2018) and Baba (2019). The acting part is the biggest plus point of Khari Biscuit.
But when the performance of the main actors is the biggest plus point in a film, it means that the content is lagging behind and that is exactly the case here.
While it is heartwarming to see Biscuit doing his best for Khari, the whole premise completely lacks logic. Khari is shown to be around six to seven years old, but she is unaware that she has been staying on footpath all her life instead of a luxurious palace. Apart from this, Biscuit regularly making her feel that they are flying in a plane by just taking her on top of the water tank was also too much. These are not the only examples.
Hence, despite the performances and the characters moving you, the story and the treatment doesn’t make you feel that it’s happening in real. This is contrary to the long disclaimer at the start assuring us that the story will appear right out of reality. Also, the screenplay loses track post-interval and all the efforts to take Khari to see the World Cup final appear childish.
The film has another issue. Jadhav is known for making colourful entertainers. But Khari Biscuit wasn’t a film to try that since the characters are poor slum-dwellers. This is where films like Elizabeth Ekadashi and Half Ticket scored well. Not only the treatment but also the entire setting appeared believable in those films.
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