'Super 30' movie review: Masala filmmaking wrecks real-life story

The linguistic disparity is the biggest problem raised in Super 30, even worse than class.

Published: 12th July 2019 07:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2019 07:42 AM   |  A+A-

A still from 'Super 30'

A still from 'Super 30'

Express News Service

It makes sense that a film about a mathematician turns out entirely formulaic.

Regardless of that, Super 30, a biopic on Patna educationist Anand Kumar, is not quite the masala potboiler it wants to become.

The emotional beats are grand but disingenuous, while the wit is hollow. 

More frustratingly, the background score – usually an enabler of high drama –functions as a spoiler here. This is a film too eager to give away the answers, against the diktats of its straight-laced protagonist. 

Hrithik Roshan plays Anand Kumar, though we don’t see him yet.

The film opens with one of his students, now an accomplished superachiever grown into Vijay Varma, detailing his journey to a crowd.

He’s speaking in Hindi – not a limitation on his part, just a precursor to another point. “I like the English language,” he says, “But  growing up, it stood in our path like a rock.” 

Linguistic disparity is the biggest problem raised in Super 30, even worse than class.

The film cuts back to the past, where Anand, following an uphill origin story and having founded his disruptive IIT-coaching programme, finds a solution. He motivates his students to stage a scene out of Sholay, but in English.

Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya proffers Basanti No Dance – a smart riff on the most famous Hindi film dialogue ever.

ALSO READ: Hrithik Roshan releases new song from 'Super 30' titled 'Basanti No Dance'

But the film overplays this hand, and the scene becomes a clamorous sing-off between rich and poor students. Super 30 has a bad habit of running its merits into the ground. 

Director Vikas Bahl’s templated thinking gets annoying.

At one point, Anand faces off his arch-rival, Aditya Shrivastava.

ALSO READ: 'Super 30'- Indian community members in USA evince interest in Anand Kumar biopic

The confrontation is dramatic as it is, but Bahl needs an additional gust of wind to howl through the scene, tousling the hero’s hair.

This brand of gale-force filmmaking grates with the nerdy subject, as children use math to ward off assailants while their teacher swindles people for ration.

“Necessity breeds invention,” says Anand smugly, in a film clueless about both terms. 

Hrithik is woefully miscast in the role.

ALSO READ: Super 30 founder Anand Kumar suffers from brain tumour

Parts where the brownface blends in, the accent bloats up.

Everyone speaks with a drawl, including Mrunal Thakur’s Supriya – an early love interest whose face (to Anand’s immense disappointment) eludes the Golden Ratio.

Pankaj Tripathi and Aditya Shrivastava are big-movie perfect, while the film’s best performance belongs to the quietly efficient Nandish Sandhu.

There’s also Amit Sadh bumbling about, a drunk journalist standing up for his own. 

In one scene, a woman falsely accuses Anand of exploitation. Coming from Vikas, who was exonerated by his producers, this rings vainly cheeky.

A character briefly mentions the Nalanda Mahavihara, the great ancient university of languages and math, but the metaphor is dropped in passing, without care.

The screenplay pokes into a lot (brain drain, education land scams) in a way that feels crammy and unsubstantiated.

Some facts are sidelined, while the climax is plainly ludicrous. Anand Kumar’s legacy deserves a better assessment. This biopic clears him with straight As.

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur, Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Vikas Bahl
Stay up to date on all the latest Entertainment Review news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

google play app store
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp