Hrithik is miscast as Anand Kumar
An inspirational story of an underdog, a math whiz who fights against all odds, not for himself but for those who like him have been condemned to live a life with unfulfilled dreams. That’s what ‘Super 30’ promised.
The trials and tribulations of mathematician Anand Kumar who pioneered the Super 30 programme to tutor 30 underprivileged students free of cost, even giving them boarding and preparing them for the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology unfolds on screen in ‘Super 30’, with an overtly bronzed Hrithik Roshan playing Anand Kumar.
However, like the life of Anand Kumar it hasn’t been an easy ride for the makers of ‘Super 30’ either. First, it was director Vikas Bahl who was involved in a case of sexual misconduct in the “Me Too” controversy which gripped Bollywood, the same which even lead to the disbanding of Phantom Films and its founders Anurag Kashyap , Vikramaditya Motwane along with Vikas Bahl.
Then came the Kangana Ranaut and the release date issues , leading ‘Super 30’ to prepone its release, but finally the complexities before release a thing of the past , the film is finally on screens
Hrithik Roshan as the Patna based super brilliant mathematician Anand Kumar for whom no math formula is complex or tough, but what’s complex is his life, impoverished and belonging to a lower caste , a society where education a virtue of the rich, but he has his hopes and aspirations. Sadly, it’s an uphill task, as he is unable to get funds for his degree abroad, he resigns himself to odd man jobs, intelligence is not enough in a corrupt society to earn bread.
A chance meeting with an educational minister played by Pankaj Tripathi sees him as tutor in a commercially run coaching centre run by the minister and aided by a politician. Education is a privilege for those who can afford it , where mediocre students with her big bucks overshadow the deserving who don’t have the finances or the societal position to compete.
Till one day Anand decides to champion the cause of may like him who have chosen to confirm to their lowly fate despite being bright and deserving. As he turns is home into a classroom, he takes on students just on the basis of merit and offers them free coaching and boarding. But, little did he realise, he would have to fight problems far more complex than the math formulae. As politicians and goons thwart his progress , his rag tag students and he defy them at every point.
So that’s the story in a nutshell, Roshan tries his best to slip into Anand Kumar’s shoes. Yes, he is miscast as Anand Kumar, thus the over bronzing, the bedraggled look gets a bit much. He tries his best with the Bihari dialect which is a bit inconsistent in parts. But, in the actor’s defence, he tries his best and his heart is in the right place.
Pankaj Tripathi who is brilliant as the educational minister, however is turned into caricature. Also , as is the case with mainstream Bollywood filmmakers working on biopics the creative liberties sometimes turn into a mockery , be it a woman who tries to book Anand in a sexual misconduct case ( one is not too sure if it happened) turns into a comic affair, or his students who turn into archers fighting goons as Anand Kumar is denied medical help, are moments when you say why o why!
Of course, the blink-and-you-miss-it love affair between Anand Kumar and his girlfriend, played by Mrunal Thakur, is totally unnecessary since the heartbreak is least impactful. Yes, she does come to his help later, but it’s the least developed aspect of the film.
The 30 students leave no impact at all, they could well have been extras and background artists, they are there to just as mere accessories.
Roshan’s enthusiam in playing the character and trying to get under the skin of Anand Kumar is obvious but you’re left wishing he had been supported by a more real and raw storyline.