Shuttlecock BoysDirector: Hemant Gaba
Cast: Aakar Kaushik, Manish Nawani, Alok Kumar, Vijay Prateek
“Cock dena,” says a friend to others while they are on their nightly routine of playing badminton. The boy Gaurav (Vijay Prateek) is often ridiculed for his English. He sells credit cards for a bank. His old friends also make fun of him being a salesman. We are also introduced to a call-centre metro-sexual dude sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt and a pink bag who wishes to own a Swift car. He is the failed flirt Loveleen (Manish Nawani). There is then Pankaj (Alok Kumar), who has consecutively flunked his CA exams. And the last member of the Shuttlecock Boys: an Amritsar-based cook Manav (Aakar Kaushik), who works at a restaurant that is about to shut down. Over the same evening of badminton, Gaurav gets bitten by the contagious bug of entrepreneurship and soon enough the boys form “Shuttle Caterers.”
These are no MBAs who would chalk out strategic plans for their start-up. They are emotionally motivated enough to tackle problems as they come by. They decide to take it as it comes. For instance, they have got their first catering contract. But they don’t have the basic kitchen in place yet. How foolishly unprofessional, right? But as they say, where there’s a will, there is a way.
No one here is Lagaan’s Bhuvan who would lead and inspire an entire team. Neither is there a Rocket Singh who would come up with an adventurous idea out of angst, nor Bittoo Sharma from Band Baaja Baraat who would work hard because he’s been aimless so far. This makes the film an important lesson in entrepreneurship, where all characters are driven by their individual motivations. No one takes centre-stage. They equally share and respect the space of friendship. You watch then a sincere film on urban friendships with no posh locations or a stellar star-cast.
Sticking to a uni-layered, character-driven plot, yet making sure the movie doesn’t miss a single note, this is by all means a commendable effort by the cast and crew entirely comprising first-timers. All actors play their parts convincingly enough. Yet, Manish as Loveleen stands out, and Aakar as Manav pitches in a near perfect performance.
The direction could have been more detailed; the art-work could’ve done with greater finesse. The film still doesn’t disappoint you as it convincingly captures the streets and young ethos of Delhi. While the characters are introduced too quickly, leaving you feeling a tad uneasy in the initial minutes, you find yourself engrossed in some finely subtle scenes later. Yes, there are clichés. Sure, the story’s predictable. Fair enough, the background score detracts from a narrative that is otherwise shorn of melodrama.
The film remains still an indie, low-budget, digital camera initiative with reasonable potential to excite mainstream audiences. Because it’s a story told from the heart. Shuttlecock Boys is Hemant Gaba and team’s “Shuttle Caterers” for the film industry. They have cooked well.