When you see big sets, lots of melodramatic saga, family values being thrown around even in casual conversations and superstars for even the smallest of characters in the film you know it's a Karan Johar film. But with our Hindi films coming of the age, it is even the Karan Johars of the industry are stumping the Indian audience by moving away from their comfort zone. Who would have thought Dharma Productions synonymous with grandiose would ever produce a film deprived of even a single star, big sets and a film made on shoe string budget? They do that with Gippi. But the question remains would this gamble work? Let's find out.
Gippi (Riya Vij) is characteristically a 14 year old adolescent; she is plump, unpopular, academically poor and the butt of all jokes of the snobby popular troupe of the school. Her life in school is centered around her BFF Anchal (Doorva) with whom she shares all growing up hassles right from her menstrual cycle to having a crush on an older boy, while at home it's her mother (Divya Dutta) and her brother Boo Boo (Arbaz Kadwani) who form her world.
She doesn't mind being picked on for a joke, she doesn't care for what others think until Arjun (Taaha Shah) a high school bad boy walks into her life and she gets challenged by the Mean B Shamira (Jayati) to stand for the head girl elections. What happens follows through the rest of the plot.
First time director Sonam Nair peeps into the lives of each and every young teenager including herself and presents a story strikes a chord instantly. You are either amongst Gippi and her friends or you have once been through her life.
The age bracket of adolescence and adulthood, of being at the crossroads gets aptly tackled in the film by Sonam without so much as the rona-dhona or the melodramatic angles. The filmmaker takes a very simple route to deal with some of the most crucial growing up troubles yet deals with them with ample sensitivity sans any frivolity. But that doesn't take away the fun quotient for there's ample in that department too.
While the first half is pacey and breezy, it's the second that starts appearing tad stretched and despite having a short run time of 97 minutes you feel the length of the film.
The shortcomings of the film get covered up by the near perfect casting of the film. There couldn't be a better Gippi than Riya Vij. She is chubby, chirpy, arrogant yet sensitive and every bit like any teenage girl her age. Even Arbaz Kadwani as the fatty younger brother is brilliant in his part. Divya Dutta is her usual perfect self and briskly moves between being the mother and the friend. Taaha Shah as the bad boy too is convincing.
Gippi is fun, Gippi is relatable and Gippi is every bit adorable. A film should definitely make a hit at least among the school kids, especially as the film smartly releases during the summer vacations!