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Super Nani review: Unpalatable, regressive film
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Amit Saxena
Poonam Pandey, Shivam, Ranbir Chakma
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She's the new teacher in town. Living by herself in a mansion that looks positively haunted, Anita (Poonam Pandey) intends to keep the 18-year-old high-schoolers busy during their vacations.

She decides a play would be the answer (with a seduction scene, if you please). The kids are excited, especially Sahil, who has a bit of a crush on her. But then, so do the other boys.

Sahil finds himself jogging on the same morning track as Anita and dreaming of her at night where she kisses his forehead ever so gently. And when Anita's boyfriend Samuel arrives on the scene, Sahil finds himself overtly jealous.

A cause of joke among friends and worry for his girlfriend, Sahil is quite out of control. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

Director Amit Saxena walks the slippery slope of presenting his main protagonist as a sex object, while also trying to humanize her. So while you have endless shots of her legs, even a scene of her showering, and conversations about how hot she is; there's an attempt to show her as an intelligent, kind and interesting person.

The problem is his awkwardness in doing both. It's not necessary to show the protagonist in minis as she walks along a row of boys, all of them gawking at her, to portray how sexy she is. Nor does she have to be naive enough to be with an undeserving boyfriend for five years, before leaving him. It's too simplistic, but one appreciates the attempt.

The director is clearly siding with Sahil's love story, by showing Anita's boyfriend as a creep. It's a manipulative trick to give our child hero an edge over the man.

Dialogue is conversational. Agreed that young people use abusive language to look cool, but them talking about a teacher calling her maal is a bit much. Boys will be boys, but there's not need to celebrate brashness this disrespectful.

The equation between the men is Sahil's family is beautifully explored. His mother is no more and it appears that he was raised by his father and uncle. Both interesting men, their conversations revolve around Sahil, much like anxious parents. They disagree on whether Rooh Afza should be served at Sahil's birthday or wine, or whether the biryani tastes good with or without whole elaichi. This family of two and a half men and their equation is the best part in the movie.

The film, that held promise, ends on a sexist note, that's disappointing to say the least. Judging by the theatre occupancy, this film is attracting not just the male but also the female audience. The finale is likely to disappoint them.

Ironically, there's a scene in the film where chauvinistic thinking is challenged. On laying a bet whether Anita is sleeping with her boyfriend, Sahil says he doesn't believe it because "she's not that kind of a girl". To that his long-standing girlfriend retorts, "Then what kind of a girl am I?"

The performances vary. Poonam Pandey is the biggest draw of the film, and she's not as bad as you'd expect. As a performer, her biggest strength is her lack of inhibition. So whether it's an emotional breakdown where her voice goes hoarse (not many actresses would like to sound like that) or a breakdown where she's not looking her best, Pandey's game.

Shivam Patil, who plays the besotted Sahil, is a natural, effortlessly bringing in various elements of character's dilemma.

Amit Saxena (Jism) makes a film that could have been an interesting insight into a teenager's crush on his teacher and the complications that are bound to follow. What you get is a half-baked story that's loses its way in the second half. This Nasha had the potential to give you a high, but it's not that intoxicating after all.

Rating: 2 stars


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