It’s been a while since we last saw Hrithik Roshan on the big screen. His last Bollywood outing was in 2017 for Sanjay Gupta’s Kaabil. So, naturally the star’s Super 30 is much-awaited and being looked forward to. And after much yo-yoing with the release date, the film finally hits theatres tomorrow on July 12. The film itself is the latest addition in the long list of biopics being churned out on a massive scale in the biopic-obsessed Bollywood.
Super 30 tells the inspiring story of Patna-based mathematician Anand Kumar, who took to coaching 30 under-privileged students. He helped them prepare for the entrance exams of the most prestigious engineering institute of India, the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs). Post the success, he now runs the internationally-famed Super 30 program for IIT aspirants in Patna. So, how does Hrithik score as the Patna professor Anand Kumar in this classic underdog story? Read on to find out…
What Super 30 is all about:
The film is set in 1996, Patna. Anand Kumar (Hrithik) is a simple college student and a math genius, who not only eats, sleeps and dreams math, but he even writes his love letter for his girlfriend (Mrunal Thakur) in math equations and formula. Soon he secures an admission to the most prestigious Cambridge University. However, Anand’s family belongs to a poor economic background and can’t afford the expenses.
So, he turns to the local minister (Pankaj Tripathi) for help. The minister too refuses to offer him any financial aid or support in any way even though he had earlier promised that he would support any student in their quest for education. Anand’s supportive father, Eeshwar Kumar (Virendra Saxena), who’s a simple postman tries his best. But he is unable to raise enough money to afford the education his son deserves. Heartbroken, he suddenly passes away leaving behind his two sons and a wife.
With his dreams shattered and no means to earn, Anand turns to selling home-made ‘papads’ to support his family. A chance meeting with the owner (Aditya Srivastava) of one of the largest private coaching institutes of Patna, Excellence Academy, gets him a job at the coaching centre that prepares children for the IIT entrance exams in lieu of a fat fees of course. Piggybacking on Anand’s brilliance, the CEO soon makes him a star professor. He hikes the fees of those securing admission to his private institute for the premium coaching.
In cahoots with Tripathi, the private-coaching mafia has a stronghold in the education system and as they clearly point out that it’s the most lucrative money-making business ever. Soon enough, Anand becomes a part of this business. However, while there is no dearth of money for Anand post his newfound job and success, he one day realises that he’s only pandering to the children of the rich. And indirectly encouraging the wrong that has been happening since ages, where only the privileged get an access to the best in education.
So, he disassociates from the institute and decides to offer free boarding and coaching to 30 underprivileged children who aspire to get into IIT, but don’t have the means. But he finds out that his dreams and aspirations come with a heavy price both professionally as well as personally. From here begins his struggles and fight against the much-powerful education mafia that won’t let him succeed no matter what the cost. He takes to teaching them in the most-innovative ways and with whatever little is there for their disposal. The film is the journey of Anand and his 30 students who overcome all obstacles – including the major class and economic divide – to pursue their dreams.
Well, we thought Hrithik as a Patna professor starts off on a shaky ground. And with an accent that clearly does not work for the actor. It sounds too forced in a few parts. However, he is consistently good in his performance. His grip only tightens around the character as the film progresses and he completely owns some of the emotional scenes. It may not be his career-best performance (blame the accent here) although it comes close, but the film certainly is one of his best so far.
We totally love Mrunal though. She lends an innocent charm and her chemistry with Hrithik is effortless and natural. Her two-bit scene with Manav Gohil is quite adorable too. Virendra Saxena as Anand’s father and Kiran Khoje as the screen mum have some real cute moments that’ll make you smile. Also debutant Nandish who plays Anand’s brother Pranav is impressive, as are Amit Sadh and Vijay Verma in their brief but impactful roles.
But the scene-stealer is undoubtedly Pankaj Tripathi. He is absolutely at home playing the corrupt and greedy Bihari politician. He aces the role with an amazing flair. His scenes with Aditya Srivastava are particularly noteworthy and a showdown scene at Tripathi’s birthday bash is something to watch out for.
Full marks to casting director Mukesh Chhabra for the perfect and realistic casting of the 31 students, as well as the other supporting members. The film also scores high when it comes to dialogues. They all pack in a strong punch and balance out the intense with the comic with absolute ease.
The story is gripping and keeps you engaged right through the end. The practical application of knowledge that the kids indulge in will remind you of 3 Idiots. The society’s class-divide is translated well on screen. Hats off to the makers for not resorting to any tear-jerker scenes to show the helplessness that this section has to face almost on a daily basis even for the most basic rights. The cinematography and the set design department are also up to the mark and fit in well.
While the story is engaging, it does get a bit too far-fetched and unrealistic at times. Especially the pre-climax scenes add that filmy touch, reminding you that though it’s a biopic, it’s still a Bollywood film. We are sure the makers have taken certain liberties with the real incidents. But there were some uncalled for scenes that if edited would’ve tightened the film by at least 20 minutes. The Basanti song doesn’t quite click.
If you wanted to see Hrithik Roshan in the dancing-action star avatar then you will have to wait for his next outing. But Hrithik minus all his herogiri is still a treat to watch in this one. The heartwarming film is super inspiring on many counts. It only goes on to show that meaningful cinema need not compromise on entertainment to get the message across. You know that it’s a classic underdog story and can also predict the final outcome. Yet it makes for an interesting watch. You will see yourself rooting for Hrithik Roshan’s Anand Kumar and his Super 30. It’s a great story that needed to be told and it’s a story that’s well-told. So definitely worth a watch!