Super 30 – the ambitious, innovative and successful programme pioneered by Patna based Mathematician Anand Kumar, who goes against all odds and his own disadvantages, to tutor impoverished aspirants to fulfill their dreams of making it to the prestigious IIT.
Anand Kumar, a victim of prejudices, caste and societal, with his own unfulfilled dreams of studying at the University of Cambridge, turns the fortunes of many hopefuls and aspirants like him by giving them coaching for free and turns mathematics and it’s formulae into child’s play; while instilling confidence in those who are subject to live a life in “gutter aur gobar”,- after all “Raja ka beta Raja nahi ab jo hakdaar hai who Raja banega“.
So this story of the underdog and his trials and tribulations as he defies his circumstances, unfolds on screen with Hrithik Roshan essaying the role of Anand Kumar. Initially when the film was announced I was a bit skeptical about Hrithik being cast as Anand Kumar, since there are absolutely no similarities between the two physically or even remote resemblance.
But in Hrithik’s defence he gives his all, playing Anand Kumar, giving a nuanced performance. He also tries to get the Bihari dialect right which does flag in the middle but, honestly, it was the over-bronzed look, which got a bit much to handle!
For Hrithik fans, if you are expecting your superstar in his avatar of flying off buildings, doing parkour like stunts, and dancing- you getting none of those.
Anand Kumar had to fight battles on many fronts- societal, casteist as well as political; and the film tries to bring to fore the ongoing debate of accessibility of education, the commercialization of the medium and the business of tutorials, where mediocrity reigns and the deserving turn into the undeserved lot. It’s an interesting story but the script does lag in some cases with some over-dramatic moments, for example when a gravely injured Anand is denied medical help and the compounder of the hospital overrules the doctor, calling him a donation wala doctor , gets another one to tend to him. As the operation is in progress, Anand’s band of 30 students take on the goons, turning medical tubes and bottles into bow and arrows.
There is also a scene where a woman, set up by the corrupt education minister, tries to get Anand Kumar involved in a sexual misconduct case- now there is no way of knowing if it happened in reality or was it simply director Vikas Bahl trying to exonerate himself from his own sexual misconduct case.
Then there is the blink-and-you-miss romance between Anand Kumar and his love interest, an upper caste girl played by Mrunal Thakur, and I am sure it may have happened but the story of heartbreak seemed to have been inserted for the sake of it.
As for the first batch of the 30 students taken in by Anand Kumar, though there is nothing wrong with the casting, sadly not one makes an impact, except in the Basanti song. Yes, it’s an inspirational tale, valiantly trying to get the message across but somewhere does get a bit twisted in its own formula.
Pankaj Tripathi as the corrupt educational minister is brilliant but sadly turns into a caricature, Amit Sadh as the journalist is good and so is Nandish Sandhu as Anand Kumar’s brother.
Hrthik’s enthusiasm in playing the character and trying to get under the skin of Anand Kumar is obvious, wish he had been supported by a more real and raw story line.