Super 30 Review: Super Subject? Yes…Super Result? Not Really
A mathematics wizard from an underprivileged background for whom maths holds the key to everything in life, Anand Kumar from Bihar, the founder of the educational program, Super 30 in Patna is an individual with a life-story that ticks off nearly all the boxes required for a Bollywood biopic. Be it his family background, excitement at getting admission to Cambridge, followed by the disappointment at not being able to join the same, his formal entry into the education space and the ups and downs associated with his Super 30 program, there is more than enough material in his story that is worth looking at. No wonder at all that Vikas Bahl went on to announce a biopic on Anand Kumar, titled simply as “Super 30” and attracting a good team on board as well. The film as we all know has had its fair share of controversies and is finally now in theatres. So now that the film has released, let’s take a look and see if it answers a few questions to our satisfaction.
Does the film go on to make for an engaging biopic in the very first place? Has Hrithik Roshan been able to do justice to the lead role, something that is seeing him move into a not so familiar territory? Is Vikas Bahl able to make a solid comeback after the disastrous Shandaar (2015)? Super 30 tells the audience the story of Anand Kumar, as narrated by one of his earliest students, who’s now a super achiever. So we are taken through the life and times of Anand Kumar and the journey that he goes through in the process of making Super 30 an important educational program, something that goes on to grab worldwide attention. In all fairness it’s a subject with a lot of scope and Vikas Bahl and his writer Sanjeev Dutta manage to begin the film on an interesting note. The initial portions are engaging, be it the scene where an excited father of Anand (Virendra Saxena) is trying to tell his superior at work on how the social equation has changed for the better or even in the few tender moments between Anand and his ladylove (Mrunal Thakur).
But very soon the writing starts meandering and the initial sparkle disappears. Yes, there are some bright moments here and there, like the way Anand Kumar manages to smartly influence a restaurant owner, ensuring the kids are well fed for 3 months in the process or the way the education minister (Pankaj Tripathi) is seen losing his cool at Lallan Singh (Aditya Shrivastava) seeing Anand’s rising popularity. But a few such interesting moments aside, what you go on to largely see especially post interval can leave you a bit dazed or distracted. Super 30 also unfortunately comes across as an attempt to portray Anand Kumar as a messiah of sorts, a whitewashing exercise in its own way. Wonder why there was no attempt made to tread into the grey zone at least, something that would have made it appear a lot more balanced in terms of the overall attempt.
Ajay-Atul’s music works to an extent, while Anay Goswamy’s cinematography does try to lend some authenticity to the look and feel of the period shown in the film. Among the better aspects of the film are the casting choices and the performances, Virendra Saxena as Anand’s father is a total delight and Adiitya Shrivastava and Pankaj Tripathi carry off their roles with a lot of conviction. Mrunal Thakur does not get much screen time but fits the requirement. Nandish Singh as Pranav Kumar, Anand’s brother is a good choice while Amit Sadh and Vijay Varma are seen in cameos. Coming to Hrithik Roshan, there are definitely areas where he seems to have shown comfort in sinking into the character, but overall it’s an uneven portrayal from him. The sincerity is definitely there, but will that alone do? In many ways its similar to the film, the subject is superb, but the same cannot be said of the result.
Vikas Bahl does manage to stage a recovery of sorts with Super 30 but it is a mission that has met with only partial success.