Sniff Movie Review: Amole Gupte Serves Up An Olefactory Delight!


Starring: Khushmeet Gill, Manmeet Singh, Surekha Sikri, SushmitaMukherjee

Directed by: Amole Gupte

Rating: *** ½ (3 and a  half stars)

The best thing about Sniff! are the wonderful children—God bless their untarnished souls—who play detectives to a car thief in aMumbai housing city.

But wait. This is much later . This is  where our interest in the goings-on begins to flag.  The  minute Sunny Gill(the wonderfully solemn and wise Khushmeet) turns super-snooper the plot loses its flexibility and momentum and falls prey to  a kind of hushed rush of juvenile activities that don’t really add up to much .

But this absence  of  a hefty payoff is not what we are looking for or missing in this  film . Straight  out, Sniff!  is a charming ode to thetastebuds and the olfactory nerves, both co-related  as one gives you  a yummy feeling in the mouth and  the other in the  nose.

But what if  you are born  with no sense  of smell?

Little Khushmeet plays one such unfortunate   child  of fate . Born into a family of pickle makers, he can’t smell the aroma of the spices that forever emanate from his lovable grandma Surekha Sikri’s  kitchen.

It’s not so much in the way the film tickles the tastebuds that the film gathers  its vigour and strength.  It’s in the way the film celebrates  the smells and sounds of food.Not since The  Mistress Of The Spices has any film given us such an aromatic view of food and cooking. The camera manned  by the magician of  the  lenses Manush Nandan,  glides  with sly smoothness over  edibles creating for  us a kind of heaven on the palate.

For me  the best most cherishable  moments  in the narrative are those where smell-proof Sunny sits stoically at the   family meal watching other family members ooh and aah over family pickles.

Sunny can’t smell, you see.

Once Sunny finds his sense of smell, the narrative creates a big stink  over a stolen car on the apartment premises.Nonetheless the film’s artless charm holds till the end. All the  child actors are  wonderful, far superior in their ability to  hold together the proceedings by the lapels of their own convictions than the adult  performers who are way too conscious of their obligation to let the children take  the forefront.

Luckily for us, editor Deepa Bhatia allows the children  more space in the goings-on than she  does to the tantrum-throwing adults. In spite of a weak denouement the  kids amply hold the plot together .Sound designer Avinash Sonavanve keeps the  frames  vibrant with extraneous  noises. Very often  I  found myself  listening in to the sounds of silence that surround little Sunny’s serene presence.

Once the noise takes over  he withdraws into a world of his own far away from our inquisitive eyes. Which is  pity. Because Sunny’s world and his charming friends show director Amole Gupte in pursuit of those simple little pleasures that we lose as we grown older.

Pleasures like licking the pickle from a jar and smacking the lips.

Thank you, Amole, for giving our childhood back to us.

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