Slambook intends to create a nostalgic feeling, and does just that. Set in Aurangabad for the most part, the story focuses on two students, who live opposite each other in the same colony, and are infatuated with each other at first glance. Slambook goes through every cliche in the book, and does it quite well.

Beginning in the present, a 28-year old, successful executive Hruday is reminded of his 16-year old self, when he meets Aparna (Ritika Shrotri), who has just shifted from Pune. Young Hruday (Shantanu Rangnekar), a village boy, stays with his aunt and uncle for studies, and also helps his uncle in running a telephone booth in the colony. Always helping Hruday is his grandfather Krushna Kant (played by Dilip Prabhavarkar), who advises him in matters of the heart. A few scenes has Hruday visiting Aparna in her dental clinic in the present, although she never notices him particularly.

Primarily set in the past, the story has quite a few laughable moments when Hruday tries to impress Aparna. The scene with young Hruday and Krushna Kant having a drink on the terrace, when Hruday’s friend drinks Krushna’s share is hilarious. Kushal Badrike, who plays Hruday’s friend, works in the telephone booth alongside him, and is the find of the movie. With his simpleton character and crisp dialogue delivery, Badrike makes an impression.

Director Ruturaj Dhalgade teaches many a lesson in this film. He brings in the infatuation versus love conflict, with Dilip Prabhavarkar explaining to young Hruday the difference, from the older generation’s point of view. Bridging the gap between children and grandchildren, the story offers an insight into the relationship between the two, though it is never given adequate space in the film. A quiet Aparna is matched by an emotionally imbalanced Hruday, who hatches many a scheme to convey his feelings, and fails. At 2 hours and 16 minutes, Slambook seems a little stretched towards the end, when a few scenes could have been edited. Shantanu Rangnekar as the younger Hruday is well-supported by Ritika Shrotri and the excellent Dilip Prabhavarkar, who dishes out advice like Gandhi (of Lage Raho Munnabhai) in the film. Editing is tight in most of the film, with the scenes never dragging, though the story itself could have been shorter.

Why you should watch this film:

A good mix of memories and humor. Watch this over the weekend with your loved ones to relive the good, old days.

Shlomoh Samuel