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STANLEY KA DABBA - Movie Review : Irrespective of the Box Office result, this should be ideally considered a more important movie than TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, targeting the dark side of our Society. (Review by Bobby Sing)

15 May, 2011 | Movies To See Before You Die / Drama / Movie Reviews / 2011 Releases

Stanley Ka Dabba - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

Amol Gupte, the real man behind the highly acclaimed Taare Zameen Par (as the writer and creative director of the film), strikes back with his own film, once again revolving around children and their emotional school journey seen through the eyes of an innocent, helpless yet courageous child named Stanley.

For the readers who wish to compare it with TZP, Yes, visibly SKD does have a similar look to that of TZP since it has been conceptualized by the same creative person and director. But content wise it simply deals with another more important and universal problem of child education, which unarguably takes STANLEY KA DABBA to much greater heights as compared to TZP. Hence with that point of view SKD can easily be stated as a few steps ahead of TZP.

However, instead of going into any comparison I would like to talk about STANLEY KA DIBBA alone and the cinematic excellence achieved by its director Amol Gupte through his honest and sincere efforts. In few words, SKD is a very simple, sober and free of any gimmick kind of movie made on a sensitive subject related with child education. It is a soulful journey into the small world of the little masters, their truthful friendships, their innocent planning and their lovable concern for each other.

It reminds you of those carefree years spent in the early school days, when there was no tension, greed or cunningness in our hearts for each other. When we used to demand very funny things from the GOD with our eyes closed and hands folded.

It reminds you of the time when we used to sing the latest Filmy Songs loudly in absence of any teacher in the class, playing the dholak on our desks.
-The time when we used to wait for the recess period just to check each other’s tiffin boxes to see that what they have brought today from their homes and there always used to be one or two friends whose tiffins were pretty famous in the whole class for their quality of food.
-The time when we used to eat in the class under the table and if not allowed then asked for ‘a water break’ to drink some water till the recess bell rings.
-The time when we all had crush on the same teacher, in most of the cases our English Teacher, who looked beautiful with her fabulous dress sense and had a magical fragrance.
-The time when a few continuous absents of a class-mate used to make us worried as hell (and in our days we even didn’t have any phones from which we could make a few calls to his home.)
-The time when the same project of ours was appreciated by one teacher and disapproved by the other.
-The time when we used to give our own funny names to each and every teacher of ours, including the ones we loved dearly.
- And the time when one boy or girl of our group suddenly became the Hero of the School after participating in a reputed competition and we all cheered for him shouting as loud as we could running all over the school premises.

All these cherished moments of our loving school days are as it is there in STANLEY KA DABBA as if they have been shot with a hidden camera without being in the knowledge of all the children. And that’s precisely how it was done by Amol Gupte, reportedly with a minimum technical crew barely visible and using the natural lights available to make every child feel comfortable in his own self. Indeed a highly appreciable task achieved by the Cinematographer Amol Gole and his director Amol Gupte which is clearly visible on the screen in its fabulous frames and striking close ups.

Without going into the details of its story plot which should not be revealed here, I would like to say that STANLEY KA DABBA needs to be treated a little more than a normal movie, since it brings forward an important issue of child education in our country. In fact there have been numerous documentaries made on this burning topic but for a complete commercial movie the plot has been used for the first time by an intelligent director, backed by a foreign production house.

The film starts off straight from the school premises and also ends right there. So in clear terms it deals more with the School, Classmates and the Teachers and has nothing to do with Parents and Home. Where the first half is very evenly paced taking you into the psyche of a struggling child, the second one goes a little slow but leads to a more solid thought provoking climax, which strikes you real hard.

Apart from its remarkable direction the second ace in STANLEY KA DABBA is the performance of all the kids in the movie. Lead by Partho as Stanley, who is also the son of director Amol Gupte, each and every child in the film is simply adorable. May be they are so natural in their act (without anything artificial) because their shooting was done in a very relaxed ambience and that too only on Saturdays and Sundays in the form of a creative workshop. Partho is purely the soul of the film particularly in its final sequence which forces you to think about what you are doing for the cause personally.

Along with the kids, the teachers are equally worth watching lead by the director Amol Gupte himself in the role of Hindi teacher Verma Sir. Amol is just superb as the teacher obsessed with food and so is Divya Dutta as the English Teacher. Especially watch for them together in the scene where Divya makes Amol feel his mistake and repent. The other teachers in the staff played by Divya Jagdale, Raj Zuthsi and Rahul Singh also come up with their genuine efforts. In the soundtrack I really liked the Lyrics and Composition of “Tere Ander Bhi Kahin”, “Life Bahot Simple Hai” and “Dekho Ik Nanhi Si Jaan Nikal Parhi”. No doubt, a job well done by the Hitesh Sonik with the inspiring words of Amole Gupte himself. (However I really thought it was done by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as the sound was quite similar to TZP.)

Now after appreciating the film in details, I would also like to mention its few weak points which many may try to avoid for their own various reasons.

The film drags a little after a while because there is no story progression in its initial hours and post intermission the proceedings move at a slower pace. The director very intelligently uses only suggestive scenes for the Big Competition sequence but still the stage performance could have been more colourful and energetic.

As the film progresses, you can sense that something is being hided from you and that makes the viewer jump on to his own assumptions leading to a predictable kind of climax which somewhat reduces the impact. Further I couldn’t believe that in a Big Private reputed School, both the teachers and the Principal (after so many regular Parent Teacher Meetings) are not aware of the family status of a famous boy of their school and he continues to hide the facts from them for so long. Post interval the film may not be an entertaining fair for everyone particularly the children and you may find them acting a little restless in its final moments. Further the climax in which Stanley continues entertaining all his teachers with his delicious food and stories about its making wasn’t convincing enough for me from the writing point of view.

But more importantly, in reality this is not a children movie at all. In fact it’s strictly for the grown-ups who actually are responsible for the current position of child education in our country. And in disguise it’s also a tight slap for all of us who very well know the truth but still don’t like to discuss or do something about the issue at our personal levels.

As a concerned person wishing to have a better society around me with more happy, cheerful and educated children in the future, I would like to say that just forget about the weak points mentioned by myself in the above lines. As an unbiased reviewer I had to do that but as an aware movie lover I would like to recommend this movie to every citizen of this country, of any age, caster or region. And would like to humbly request everyone to must watch STANLEY KA DABBA if you seriously want all the children in your family to have a better world to live in after we are all gone.

And for me Who was the real Hero of the film?....No it was not Stanley, not any one of his friends…neither his English Teacher nor his understanding Principal.

For me the real HERO of the FILM was the person who helped STANLEY continue his studies, the person who used to pack his Dabba with all that delicious variety of food each day. For me he was the real hero of the film STANLEY KA DABBA. I salute him for his noble act which may influence many good hearts to follow and I salute the man “Amol Gupte” for slapping us all with such noble intensions and concern.

After the movie was over, I was standing alone in the theater, feeling ashamed of the truth shown on the screen and felt a strong urge to do something for this cause and I hope every single viewer may feel the same after the end credits roll. Cause that only can bring some change around us - a positive much needed change.

Ratings - As a movie : 4 / 5 but as a social venture : 5 / 5

(Right away added to my "Movies To See Before You Die" List)

Tags : Stanley Ka Dabba Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Stanley Ka Dabba Film REview By Bobby Sing, SKD Movie Review By Bobby Sing SKD film Review, SKD by Amol Gupte, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By B
15 May 2011 / Comments ( 19 )

Bobby Sing,
I just read it & man !! you are amazing !! I found this film more important & noble after reading your review & point of views. Indeed your urge to all of us matters a lot for building a brighter future of the nation who in fact in those little hands & ultimately of their education. Bravo...!
I would like to mention few points here which really made me cry:
1. The dignity of Stanley who doesn\'t seek sympathy from anybody because of his daily trouble as well as his permanent loss ! He just wants to spread smile all over even though he has to tell lie every time to their best buddies & teachers !!
2. Couple of scenes where he drinks just water to fill his stomach in lunch time...God ! that touched me lot...
3. One particular scene where the person who used to pack his lunch ask him "agar pahele bata diya hota to roj mein tumhe dabbad deta !" & in reply Stanley says "par ye khana mera nahi hai !! Aur chacha bhi mera kaha hai !! (Awesome....Dignity, shows lot of character of the "little" boy)
I am spreading this film where ever possible...

Bobby Sing

Thanks Hemu and you are very right in your mentioned points.....
But I didnt want to mention them in the review since I didnt want to reveal the plot of the movie to the people who havnt seen it yet.....
Rest.....Yes do spread the movie as everyone should see it and also take a personal step in this direction.



Wow.. Nice Review bobby.

I will watch this movie soon and I will spread about this movie where ever possible.. :)

Bobby Sing

Thanks Naresh and yes do spread the news about the movie so that more & more people may get motivated by the same.


great review. by the way, music is not by shankar-ehsaan-loy, but by hitesh-sonik and amole gupte.
Bobby Sing

Hi Raunak,
Thanks for your kind comment and mistake admitted. In fact such mistakes also give you an idea of your serious readers too. So once again thanks for pointing it out.



hi bobby, excellent review.
but thing i didn\'t understand is you said this movie is better and stronger than TZP..however, TZP you didn\'t rate it because u thought that movie was simply beyond any rating system, and this movie you rated 4/5. Curious!
Bobby Sing

Hi Nihin,
I didint rate TZP as it was a better entertaining movie in all respects from SKD. And it was both entertaining and enlightening about a problem which was very much new for majority of the audiences. Secondly the movie didint have any scripting flaws which could be pointed out at once. At the same time the problem in TZP was not a social problem, rather it was a personal behaviour or personality problem of some kids which was depicted beautifully.

Whereas SKD deals with a problem which is very much social as well as National of Child Labour, Child Exploitation and Child Education. And this very problem can make or break the Nation in the coming future (which lacked in TZP). Therfore this becomes a far more important movie than TZP.

But unfortunately SKD is not as entertaining as TZP and further it has a BIG FLAW pointing out the faulty school system taken for granted in its script which restricts calling it a film beyond ratings. Therfore it is been given 4/5.

(Along with this, I would like to tell that TZP was one of the first reviews I had written and thats the reason it is very short and the SKD one is very long)

I hope I was able to explain the difference dear.


amit joshi


1. Why stanley not sent to government school, where he can atleast find mid day meal (I am suggesting because the plot of the movie was FOOD than child labour)

2. Why 50% dialogues between principal, teacher and students are in english, do you think that common man of India understand that much of english ? (atleast my parents doesn\'t understand that much of english in which headmaster tells his staff that school timing are going to extended after actual time)

3. Why the history teacher was introduced in the movie, Just to feed extra meal to mr. amol gupte ? we thought that he will do something for STANLEY :)

4. Children who doesn\'t have even food to bring in lunch, doesn\'t go to english medium school, either they sit at home or go to government schools and this is the truth. You won\'t find any child speaking in english, going to english medium school and doesn\'t have food at lunch.

5. How can you show a child not bringing food & teacher doesn\'t care of it\' (atleast in english medium school) not calling his parents.......strange screenplay.

6. It doensn\'t look convincing that a teacher leaves the school (after self realization), he could have said sorry to Stanley & could change his habits. Leaving school is quite big thing.

7. Why Amole Gupte doesn\'t bring his lunch, nobody ask him, till the end (was he also an ORPHAN ? hahahahaha , sorry to say, but its quite strange, every teacher brings lunch to school, yeah some has habit to peep into others, but it is impossible that Teacher doesn\'t bring lunch and nobody is asking him even a once in entire movie.

8. Some audience were predicting that Headmaster (who drops stanley after the function were aware of the fact that Stanley is an Orphan, if he knows he should take care of Stanley\'s food atleast.

9. Again it is almost impossible for a child who works at DHABA to have an admission in english medium school, now a days you need parents and other support to survive in these kind of schools.

10. Stanley ka Dabba has a good issue, but the screenplay has only Food, Food & Food. BOTH INTERVAL & END COMES ABRUPTLY.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Amit Joshi for your detailed comment pointing out all the weak and questionable spots in the movie and its script.

But as an answer to your comment, as written in my review too, I have only one thing to say :

"Some movies are meant to be promoted unconditionally, ignoring all the flaws in its script. Thats the duty of a Film Reviewer as many of the viewers make a decision to watch or leave a film after reading the review. And if even a handful of people sitting in the theater change after watching such movie then your Job of a Reviewer is Done." 

So if one wants the society to be a better one for our future generation, then Proper Journalism should always promote such stuff as its duty"

Secondly - my small tip for reviewing a film :

"Never go for a movie because you want to review it or find its weak points...................Go for a movie with full passion, excitement and eagerness to watch it as a normal moviegoer......and then after it finishes off write what you feel............But only pointing out the mistakes is not Film Jounalism or Film Reviewing"

Hope you get my point.



amit joshi
Sir I am not a intellectual person neither a critic (like Khalid Mohamed), I am a normal guy who always loves movies which has inspirational message & have a good story telling. (I love Guide, Anand, munnabhai series, taare zameen pe & 3 idiots)

I only want to say.

1. If you want to convey any social message through movies it should be told in a way that it reaches maximum no. of audience, your screenplay should have enough strength to convey your message. otherwise you can hang posters at streets and tell people to stop child labour.

2. And if you say that any movie which have good intention (social message), we should ignore its weak points, then I agree that SKD has good intention ONLY, it doesn\'t have a proper story to describe child labour. its like I have a great idea but don\'t know how to execute it.

3. All the people in my village watched TZP, got the theme and message both, but I am afraid to say that nobody watched SKD & I don\'t think they are going to understand it (as the 50% dialogues are in english, I know I am repetitive on this point but trust me this is a valid point, atleast in India)

4. I will be criticized for not showing faith in a movie which has very good intention, but believe me I strongly thinks that these issues should be told in a more disciplined manner rather than showing the content which is not really relevant to the story. Director should approach with a solution, no matter even if it comes in a form of sugar coated pills.

5. At last but not the least........good movies always (99.99%) attracts (finds) its audiences. I don\'t remember movies which had gre8 intention & screenplay still didn\'t find audience.

Bobby Sing

Hi Amit,
You donot need to be an intellectual or critic to notice the weak points in a movie.....thats common sense, But SKD is not a bad movie at all from any angle. In documentary world there are numerous movies made on this topic but as a full fledged film it is one of the few ones. And also no one gets to see those docu films, so here atleast you get to see it with a proper release.

Secondly, as per my understanding STD needs to be shown more in the CITIES and not VILLAGES. ITs the Cities where the children are being exploited and kept away from their basic education and therefore the use of English.

And lastly, mark my words, if TAARE ZAMEEN PAR hadnt got Aamir in it then you might not have even seen it and many of the viewers even may not have gone to see it in the theaters...........

No doubt it was a good film but its Bollywood my friend, here things get sold more by the lable on the packet then its content.



amit joshi
1. I knew that Aamir point will be raised, but keep remember, people went to see Munnabhai MBBS & Lage raho, even it didn\'t had superstar because it had gre8 screenplay & intension both

2. yes aamir factor again raised more funds for 3 idiots but if you keep talking about Aamir factor then DHOBI GHAT should be superhit. you can\'t make people fool by putting a sensible actor in a bad screenplay.

3. I lives in a village area, but it is in Delhi so not a typical village :) here are many shops where small childrens are working, wat you say, shouldn\'t they see this movie to feel that something is going wrong around them ? shouldn\'t they understand the content ?

Bobby Sing

Dear friend,

I would only like to say do keep watching movies as there is lot more to learn.
Moreover Movie World is not just what its look like from the outside.....It has much more hidden truths which you can never understand unless you work behind the screen.

So keep watching movies,


amit joshi

I have to agree with amit joshi\'s comment. It doesn\'t matter whether ur intentions are good, if ur screenplay or movie is not convincing or bad.

Only things that i liked in the movie is cinematography and stanleys acting.He is a natural born actor.(better than darsheel)
There are big loopholes in the script. Actually i don\'t think the massage is about child labour or education system. It\'s about how we deal with the children
Finally when we compare this with TZP, it shows u what real cinema is.After watching SKD i can appreciate TZP even more because it was a perfecrt movie.
(i watched it yesterday to find any faults but i couldn\'t)

Every one is talking about AAMIR factor of TZP but i have to say if AMOLE directed TZP it couldn\'t be that good. It\'s because aamir is perfect director.
People say Aamir is a mr .publicity gimmick .midas touch ,perfectionist but to me he is the creator of TZP. I don\'t know whether he took or stole the idea from Amole but i\'m glad he did that.

Bobby Sing

A pain of another person taking the credit of your hard work can only be felt if you have expereinced that in any time of your life......Its the biggest theft and the pain is unexplainable......

If you are a creative person then I pray God never puts in that position ever.


i just like to say that must watch this movie as it plays the key role in our life............................... :)
Bobby Sing

Do watch it Sufyan and get back with your comments here too.


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