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SNIFF - Amole once again excels with kids in a flawed yet fresh, children detective film. (Review by Bobby Sing)

25 Aug, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases

As a writer-director Amole Gupte is a name associated with films revolving around school going kids and their individual stories, which happens to be a rare genre in Hindi Cinema, not really considered by the mainstream film-makers and producers more interested in their ‘Rate of Returns’. Thankfully Amole has been regularly working in this field and delivering worth watching films too including gems like TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, STANLEY KA DABBA and a fairly good HAWAA HAWAAI.
This time he brings us another fresh movie exploring a novel subject introducing us to a school going (Sikh) boy who suddenly gets the power of sniffing the crime and criminals. To be honest, Yes - the film remains flawed in its execution of the plot and detective element offering a lot less than expected. But it still remains a fresh, sweet and simple film, once again excelling in its performances, that has been the forte of its director right from his first venture.

SNIFF begins well and has a lovable first half with a few exceptional sequences dealing with kids in their classroom and their mutual interactions. Superbly establishing its characters the film excels in portraying an enjoyable picture of the diverse Indian society focusing on a Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi and more families living together in a Mumbai society. The casting works perfectly resulting in entertaining performances from the veterans as well as the kids brilliantly led by the young Khushmeet Singh (as Sunny). And the film gains its pace as soon as Sunny accidentally gets his super power of sniffing the criminals becoming a star detective.
However, the second half isn’t able to deliver as per the expectations raised and the film simply remains a praiseworthy attempt by Amole due to many major flaws both in the mystery involved and the progression lacking the much needed excitement and pull. It doesn’t turn out to be engaging enough as an enjoyable mystery thriller and keeps majorly relying on its performances compensating for the missing elements.
Among the most bizarre inclusion in the film is a staff-room theft sequence that shows teachers in a very poor light. It wasn’t required and should have been avoided. Enhanced by a decent cinematography, the background score does make you emotional (in the first half), but I really wish the meaningful song “Yeh Kiske Lekhe Pe” had a catchy, melodious composition making a much bigger impact.
In all, despite the flaws SNIFF is a light-hearted, feel good film having its own heartwarming moments featuring all talented kids and veterans. And it’s worth watching particularly for the school sequences featuring another brilliant performer as Sunny’s helpful friend. Just watch out for the scene where he asks Sunny that can you also smell Pain, Danger, Sadness and Death too?
A rare and potential premise for a children film, though SNIFF could have been much better as a detective drama, it still comes as a worth-praising start that might inspire many to exploit the unexplored genre (and the director gives a hint of making a sequel too).
Concluding on a nostalgic note, since the world of COMICS got lost in the digital development of the present era, kids detective stories were not being written or seen in either books or serials. And we actually never really had any Famous Five, Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew kind of cult creations in Hindi storybooks/literature to be honest.
So from this particular point of view, SNIFF surely deserve praises for being a Children Detective film thinking out of the box and you got to see it soon taking the kids along.
(The article also got shared in UC-News mobile app in August 2017)
Shared below are views - Beyond the initial writeup with more interesting insights.
When did you last witness a Children Detective/Adventure Film in Hindi?

It will be really hard to think of one, except MAKDEE in the last few decades to be honest.

Recalling the lost world, the arrival of numerous TV channels in the 90s and digital revolution of internet post 2000 completely overshadowed the teenage life deeply connected with comics and short detective novels of fictional characters like Rajan-Iqbal, Ram-Rahim, Babloo, Inspector Manoj and many more. Though a few serials like Ek Do Teen Chaar and Kiley Ka Rahsaya were also aired by Doordarshan as children adventure series in those particular years. But comics were certainly the most beloved friends of all kids and teenagers before the mid-90s and that’s also because we didn’t have any Famous Five, Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew kind of cult characters in Hindi storybooks/literature giving you the real picture.
Can't say how many young boys and girls are addicted to such books in the present era. (Not many I guess!) But its really strange that the genre of 'Children Detective/Adventure Films' was never really exploited in Hindi Cinema except a couple of decent attempts coming at considerably long intervals in the past decades.
Thankfully writer-director Amole Gupte fills up the void and comes up with SNIFF,  that makes you feel the nostalgia and takes you back in that world revolving around a kid detective, who accidentally gets an extraordinary power of smelling the crime and the criminals in his close surroundings. The film isn’t great in terms of perfection and logical reasoning required in a detective or mystery movie having a strictly average second half. But it’s worth giving a chance indeed and might inspire the young ones to explore more similar stuff choosing from the wide range of books available online.
Frankly SNIFF is sure to be taken off from the theaters within the first week itself due to the lack of audience. So do make a note and watch it together with the kids, the moment its available on an online portal soon in the coming weeks.
Rating : 3 / 5

Tags : SNIFF Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Amole Gupte films with the kids, Kids Detective Movie
25 Aug 2017 / Comment ( 0 )
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