The YA coming-of-age story has been explored with so many angles in the past few years. Director Vishal Sakharam Devrukhakar’s Boyz falls in the same category. What sets it apart is the way Vishal handles it, balancing the two parallel aspects of the story.
If there was one term to define the plot it would be YOLO. Those who don’t know the acronym, probably this film is not for them. Dhungya (Parth Bhalerao) and Dhairya (Pratik Lad) two completely unruly boys are sent off to a boarding school by the villagers, thereby ridding themselves of the duo’s menace. Hardened mischief-makers, they continue with their fun-filled adventures in the school; with an unlikely support, that of the studious Head Boy Kabir (Sumant Shinde). Together the trio embark on a love-hate relationship with each other, teaching each other a few things and learning one of life’s biggest lessons – to live and let live. And then there is Gayatri (Shilpa Tulaskar) – Kabir’s single mom, who has been trying to get her son to talk to her, while she battles terminal cancer. Kabir meanwhile is unaware of her illness, and angry that she keeps hiding the name of his father and forces him to use her name instead. Kabir’s aunt (Sharvari Jamenis) tries to bridge the physical and mental distance between the mother and son, but only succeeds when Dhungya and Dhairya intervene.
It’s a story of a boy growing up to accept life’s inconsistencies and facing them while still being completely himself. A lesson the nerdy Kabir learns from his newly-found friends.
In the acting department, everyone does a decent job. From Zakir Hussain to Vaibhav Mangle’s characters of school principal and poem, respectively, are mere caricatures and that’s what they are portrayed as. Santosh Juvekar picks up from where he left in Shala. The lead three boys: Parth, Pratik and Sumant are perfect for their respective roles. Shilpa Tulaskar steals the show as the single mom slowly spiraling into madness trying to get her son to love her back while battling a terminal illness.
Although Boyz tries to be realistic in its approach of narration, the crass humour and below-the-belt jokes and sexual undertone of the interaction between the children is a little uncomfortable. If you have watched the song ‘Amhi Langalu’ you’d know what we are pointing at. Yes, the target group of the audience will find this funny, but it is cringe-worthy nevertheless. It perpetuates the age-old belief that ‘boys will be boys’. We don’t want that, do we?