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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Super 30 Movie Review: Hrithik Roshan Graduates as an Actor

From the director being accused of sexual harassment to the pressure of pre/postponing the film’s release, Super 30 made headlines for several reasons.

But the movie is now finally being released and it promises to be an uplifting, socially relevant venture.

Inspired by the real-life story of Indian Maths wizard Anand Kumar, who founded the renowned Super 30 coaching institute in Patna, Hrithik Roshan plays Anand on screen.

The film chronicles the journey of Kumar and the trial and tribulations he faced while setting up his institute.

As such, his academy provides free coaching to 30 academically brilliant but underprivileged children for India’s toughest engineering entrance examinations, the IITs.

Symbolism & Cinematic Tropes 

Initially, going by the film’s trailer, I was not confident that the movie would be as convincing or effective.

Thankfully, mind changed after seeing it.

Though the movie on many occasions is dramatic, it compels the viewer to empathise with the circumstances and characters.

I’m not fully aware of Anand Kumar’s life, therefore I cannot opine on the factual prospects of his life. 

But what I can judge is how effective the cinematic tropes are. 

Cinematically, there is plenty to admire… Especially when it comes to symbolism and pathetic fallacy.

For instance, the cycle is constantly a symbol of life and how we must keep peddling on no matter what happens.

In fact, a sequence where Anand’s father Rajendra (Virendra Saxena) would peddle backwards and then forwards, which somehow foreshadows what happens with the character.

There is a particular scene where Lallan (Aditya Shrivastava), the powerful owner of the prestigious ‘Excellence Institute’ goes to threat Anand and urges him to resume teaching at the academy.

Whilst this argument is occurring, a storm is brewing outside and the parallels in both conditions work effectively as a piece of cinema.

Anay Goswamy’s cinematography is first-rate and Ajay-Atul’s enchanting background score is effective in increasing the movie’s visual appeal.

Social Relevance 

“Raja ka Beta Raja Nahin Banega. Raja Wahi Banega jo Haqdaar Hoga.”

This is a pivotal line that forms the crux of Super 30 and it is high time too this dialogue shapes our society.

Director Vikas Bahl neatly exhibits the class disparity within the education system and it is quite sad to think that so many underprivileged kids have to suffer such circumstances.

In fact, a particular thought-provoking sequence is when the Super 30 alumni dream about studying at IIT and in that reverie, they are shown to be misfits.

They are constantly engulfed in a web of negative thoughts, which is contributed by society. 

As a result, ‘education’ is represented to be a ‘beacon of change’… That subject becomes like an additional character in the movie as it becomes the strength/escapism for the underprivileged. 

It is high time that dynastic privileges are omitted and opportunities are given to those who truly deserve it. 

Given that circumstances in India are changing, Super 30 in that respect is quite progressive and relevant.

After Gully Boy, this is another success story about an underdog from the impoverished section of Indian society.

But it is great that we are seeing such stories in Bollywood because there are people like Murad and Anand Kumar in society.

We ought to celebrate such personalities in cinema. 

Cast Performances 

Hrithik Roshan, to begin with, is excellent. He adapts every nuance aptly and tries his level best in mastering the Bihari accent. 

It is his most realistic role yet and perhaps amongst his finest… His expressions in the final sequence are a testament to this. 

Whilst Hrithik dominates, Mrunal Thakur is effective in her parts as Supriya, Anand’s love interest… Though she deserves more screen-time in the film, she is a supreme talent to look out for in coming days.

Pankaj Tripathi as the corrupt minister is also great. Whilst we have seen him in dark roles before, this is another good performance. 

However, for me, the real show-stealer is Aditya Shrivastava. The business-minded and egotistic nature of his character come across organically.

Nandish Singh as Anand’s Pranav is also promising. Despite mostly being seen alongside Hrithik, his presence is felt highly.

Amit Sadh is also decent in his special appearance as journalist Raghunath. 

But a special mention goes to the Super 30 students themselves… Many of whom are Anand’s actual students, they are excellent. 

What could be better?

Undoubtedly, there are many positive aspects of Super 30. 

However, it would’ve been interesting to see how the final batch of students was shortlisted. This would’ve made the movie more complete.

Also, the duration is unnecessarily quite long. A shorter cut could’ve been more effective but at no point did I get bored. 

I went into the cinema to be taken on a journey and that is exactly what happened.

This commercial potboiler did not only entertained me but it is also socially relevant and thought-provoking.

Overall, Super 30 is wonderful. Not only does it exhibit Anand Kumar’s inspiring story, it subtly emphasises the power of education. 

In addition, the film also addresses dynastic privileges and how important it is for society to change.

As such, if a misogynistic/regressive movie like Kabir Singh can mint money, then it is of paramount importance that films like Super 30, which champion change should be appreciated.

But more than anything, the movie deserves to be watched for Hrithik Roshan’s sincerest performance yet. Half a star extra is for him.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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