By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 23 October 2020: The second opening movie of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020, Habbadi’ (Marathi) directed by Nachiket Samant (Gachchi, 2017), deals with a 10-year-old village boy (Karan Dave) who faces flak and discrimination because he stammers. He is like anyone but chided in school and daily life for his unusual speech disability. The boy wants to join the village Kabbadi team to visit Mumbai. Uttering ‘Kabbadi Kabbadi’ being an essential part of this Indian sport makes his journey full of roadblocks.
The one hour 48 minutes movie is an empowering one as the boy’s Kabbadi zeal despite the speech defect rubs shoulder with his attempt to meet the village girl (Vedashree Mahajan) who shifted to Mumbai as a mission. With excellent acting and a rural Maharashtra setting, the movie gives a positive message. Never give up. Determination and support can always beat an issue frowned upon by society. This movie is an example of how cinema can give strength to people trying to overcome disability. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.