Star cast : Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur, Pankaj Tripathi, Nandish Singh, Virendra Saxena and Amit Sadh
Directed by : Vikas Bahl
Writer: Sanjeev Dutta
Produced by : Phantom Films, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment
FILMFARE ME STARS: (4/5)
A story of passion that is not directed to a person or a business but to a project that is largely selfless and humanitarian, Super 30 is based on a true story of Anand Kumar from Bihar, a brilliant but poor mathematician who decides to start a free IIT JEE coaching school for the poorest of the poor in 2002. This rebellion irks the ‘education mafia’ that thrive on the hefty fees paid by the rich for the same course. Kumar’s free class empowers the underprivileged to improve their lives and their social conditions through education.
The film opens with a student testimony. Fugga Kumar played by Vijay Varma addresses a foreign audience to narrate the story of his teacher who rebelled against the education mafia to empower the poor. As per the original incident, for the first time in 2008, all 30 students of the batch coached by Anand Kumar qualified for IIT JEE. It also made to the Time Magazine 2010.
To create this world, writer Sanjeev Dutta and director Vikas Bahl enhance the plot with a rich star cast of actors. Mrunal Thakur plays Kumar’s lost love in a spunky role, the brilliant Pankaj Tripathi plays Devraj Jagan, a corrupt politician who is out to make education a big booming business. Virendra Saxena as Anand ‘s supportive father is endearing in the role of a postman, so is Nandish Kumar who plays his supportive brother. Amit Sadh plays a small but significant role of a journalist while Aditya Srivastava of CID fame plays Hrithik’s arch -rival. The film also has some interesting visual effects that come as a surprise but add to the narrative of the story. The music by Ajay Atul adds power to the narrative.
Hrithik’s accent and darkening his skin-tone have been issues that has been raised, but beyond it, is an earnest performance by an actor sincere to his craft. Hrithik Roshan, unlike his previous larger- than-life roles, plays a man who, at the cost of personal tragedy refuses, to be bitter about his goals. Unable to reach the University of Cambridge due to paucity of funds, he rises above heartbreak and his shattered dreams to educate a mass of truly talented children from poor families. All this at the cost of his life and the safety of the children he teaches.
The film has several heart-warming moments that tug at your emotional chords and make a point. A scene where an underconfident group of students, who cannot speak English, perform a whole skit in broken English is mind-blowing and endearing. So are the scenes where children from across the state reach Anand’s coaching centre with little or means, no money and no food.
The film is an example of one man’s quest for social change and how he achieved it despite the world turning against him. If you google him now, there are stories about current controversies and his ill-health but his story remains heroic. The film also plays in the way bookish knowledge is made relevant and tactile by the teacher. The film also salutes children, who, despite terse economic conditions, have a burning quest to study and make sense of their lives. The studying-under-the street light image of a child, is explored with great sensitivity and respect.
The film is lengthy and could be edited in parts. There is a scene where children protect a hospital from a goon attack, oscillates towards being unrealistic and filmy. As for the class of Super 30, when learning is fun, it doesn’t seem like a lesson. Watch it for the perspective, the story that will touch your heart and a performance by a man who has effectively played super-hero and a common man with equal grace.