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Toolsidas Junior: A Touching Father-Son Relationship

Bollywood has been a hotbed of sports dramas. However, ‘Toolsidas Junior’, a Rajiv Kapoor sports saga, is different in that it’s focus is more on the emotional cadences of the relationship between a father and a son. Dr Ramandeep Mahal gives her take on this touching film.

This movie is a must watch with the entire family. I would rate it 8 out of 10. Midi (Varun Buddhadev), a young boy, is determined to face the challenges that life throws at him while restoring his father's honour. Unlike most sports dramas, there are no demanding parents pushing his degree of commitment; rather, it is a young boy's ambition to accomplish what his father once desired. Rajiv Kapoor (of Ram Teri Ganga Maili fame) finally makes a comeback, although the movie ‘Toolsidas Junior’ has released posthumously. After his last film, ‘Zimmedaar’, in 1990, Rajiv Kapoor had announced his retirement from acting although he continued his work as a director and directed ‘Prem Granth’, starring his brother Rishi Kapoor in 1996. The film has been directed with panache by Director Mridul who focuses mainly on the father-son relationship. It is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ashutosh Gowariker and Sunita Gowariker.

The movie is set in Kolkata 1994. Toolsidas (Rajiv Kapoor) plays snooker only for his son, but Jimmy Tandon (Dalip Tahil) stands as a rival. Toolsidas is certain that he would win the trophy but returns empty-handed much to his son’s dismay. To cope with his frustration, the father takes refuge in alcohol, and as a result, the family begins to crumble and collapse. Despite his fall from grace, fans get a taste of Toolsidas Senior’s untapped potential in the clip where he communicates the fears and flaws connected with his role pretty effectively and makes a vow to his son. Midi takes upon himself the task of restoring his father’s ‘honour’. He struggles to find a mentor. In addition, since ‘under 16’ is expressly forbidden, he will be unable to train at the same club as his father. The boy’s zeal and devotion to the game leads him to join the YMC Wellington club, where he meets the previous national champion Mohd Salaam (Sanjay Dutt) and seeks him out as his mentor. Will Mohd Salaam help Midi overcome the obstacles that lie ahead? 

Midi, like any other kid of his age, is energetic and enthusiastic.  The ‘sports’ background keeps you hooked and glued to your seats. As soon as the characters are introduced, we are able to recognize them, Midi played by Varun Buddhadev, almost steals the show as he is able to convey the emotions that he experiences with a touching elan. Sanjay Dutt gives snooker a Bollywood twist. Dutt’s reference to the yellow ball as jaundice, brown one as ‘chakalate’ (chocolate) and blue as ‘tota’ (parrot) gives the film a Bollywood tinge as does his punchline, ‘Jaundice ko Rajinikanth ka punch, Totta ko Mithun ka Disco King aur Kaalia ko Bachchan sahab ka full chamaat.’ His colourful new persona is a pleasure for fans, implying that he may be the film's surprise present. His character brings hope to the protagonist, who is dejected by the obstacles he has to face.  Sanjay Dutt's acting abilities were put to good use in this film; he fits the job of a coach well. His friendship with Varun warms the heart. As Midi's older brother Goti, Chinmay Chandraunshuh, is frustratingly intriguing. He adds comedy to the situation by pulling childish pranks such as underwear-tossing (rather than coin-tossing) to pick between two possibilities. Dalip Tahil plays his part of the ‘winner’ well. He maintains the arrogance and self-assurance of the winning snooker player throughout.

The streets of Kolkata have also been wonderfully recorded in the camera's lens; the attention and focus has been on some insignificant individuals who have inadvertently provided the tale the necessary power and punc. A thirty two minute film is completely about Midi’s journey to achieve what his father wanted. Arijit Singh's song 'Udd Chala Badal Naya' is calming and lingers with you long after the film has ended. Rajiv Kapoor. though with little on-screen time, plays a significant part in the film. Asutosh Gowarikar has commented, “It was really lovely to work with Rajiv. On the set, he was an absolute professional. And played the part with so much fun, dignity and ease. What an affable person he was. His performance in Toolsidas Junior is going to surprise everyone. Sadly, he won’t be there to enjoy the accolades he was surely going to receive.” This is one movie that will leave you with a smile on your face. The viewer would perhaps take home a feeling that, if there is failure, there is also success; if there are smiles, there are also tears to be shed.

Film: Toolsidas Junior: Welcome

Dr. Ramandeep Mahal is an Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Maharishi Markandeshwar Mullana, Ambala. She received her Doctorate degree from Maharishi Markandeshwar Mullana Ambala in 2018. Her research interests include Anglo-American Literature, Indian Writing in English, African Literature. She is the author of more than twenty research papers.

Film: Toolsidas Junior: Text
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