Stanley Ka Dabba

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

It's a very warm film and can make you nostalgic. It brings out irony that is part of everyday life. It comments on a blistering issue in society, but it doesn't let the issue take over the film. But it is also very slow and predictable.

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Director: Amole Gupte
Running time: 95 minutes
More Movie Info

Stanley Ka Dabba - Preview

A trailer left me feeling warm towards the protagonist Stanley. He is endearing and he is real.

As soon as you watch it you somehow remember Taare Zameen Par. And but of course, it is the sole-proprietorship of Taare Zameen Par's creative director. Remember there was this huge controversy about who the real director of the film was? I loved the film, so much so that I didn't even realize its specific flaws till I saw it for the fourth and fifth times. Which is when I realized how wonderfully beautiful the first half of the film is and how blatantly the actor, Aamir Khan takes the film away from the character, Ishaan Awasthi. And that's when I realized that it almost looks like the first and second halves were directed by different people.

Somehow Stanley Ka Dabba gives the feel that it will be our chance to see how it'd be if Taare Zameen Par was directed by one person, and hopefully Amole Gupte directed the first half. Sure, the low budgets and the lack of marketing suave will be conspicuous by their absence. But a good film, with strong and relatable characters don't need anything else.

That brings me to my worry. Amole Gupte plays a teacher in the film which comes across as caricatured and rather slapsticky. I want fresh and real, not another round of slaps and food-dripping-out-of-mouth kind of humor. For that we have our Priyadarshans and David Dhawans and Bazmees.

Well, whatever the case, the one and only man to take blame or credit will be Amole Gupte because he's the producer, director, writer, actor and lyricist of the film. And hopefully the the trailer is exactly what it should be - a peek into how charming the characters are. Certainly looking forward to this one!

Ps. There weren't too many music reviews around at the time this article was written.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Stanley ka Dabba, the title by itself warmed me up to the film. I used to be that lazy one in school who'd never get her "tiffin box". And this is after my little sister would pack it early in the morning. I don't know, my own dabba just never was fascinating enough. Years later, as I watch Stanley ka Dabba, I realize maybe it was a 'bonding' thing for me. Many friends made over shared parathas and buscuits. Sure, Stanley's reason for not bringing food for himself is as far from laziness as it could be, but the fact that he didn’t have his meal with him brought the same result. Many friends and lovely memories. Despite this fondness though, Stanley ka Dabba seemed slow, predictable and repetitive in its 95 minute duration.

Stanley ka Dabba's promo also makes you believe that there is going to be something really deep in the film that will take repeated viewings to deconstruct. It raises a question about Stanley's background that remains unanswered till the last ten minutes of the film. By then, you have pretty much made up your own sad story about his family and probable life-style situation. And the climax gives you exactly that. In that sense, the film is unpredictable, right? You were expecting something more, something beyond the superficial but didn't get it.

But who says every film has to have a zen moment of realization? For what it is, Stanley ka Dabba is perfectly enjoyable because of its simplicity and how relatable it is. A science teacher who constantly asks you to stick to the norms, a unreasonable Hindi teacher who insists that the Goddess of knowledge will oblige only if you use the right hand. Stanley ka Dabba is all about simple things like these and the fact that every student who has come out of a traditional Indian school environment will find something to smile at.

And if you can't identify with the events of the film, there's always Stanley to smile with. Partho plays the charming Stanley, a master story-teller, who has a very strong self-esteem. In fact, all the kids in the film are perfect in their roles - almost as if they aren't acting at all.

The kids in the theater around me seemed to love every minute they spent with Stanley. They didn't seem to mind the slow pace or the repetition. It didn't matter that there seemed to be no valid reason for the angst and resolution thereof between Stanley and his Hindi teacher. Nor did they care that the climax does nothing outside the box. The protagonist is the hero and has a story that tugs the right strings for that lumpy throat.

I'm really curious how the film is going to be liked at film festivals both Indian and international. The context is very Indian. In fact, it is documentation of the education system and the culture revolving in schools in India. Fortunately, the "new-age" schools might be changing the teacher-facing experience. Unfortunately though it might be changing the dabba experience too.

- meeta, a part of the audience

External reviews for this movie are not available

131 tweeters(?) - 115 yays 7 so-so 9 nays

vkv_iyer: Had a wonderful weekend..Saw Amol Gupte's 'Stanley Ka Dabba'..It was an exhilarating ride...Just too brilliant..Hats off to Amol..

vivekranjit: Here's what I thought about the beautiful movie #StanleyKaDabba -

vivekbbhatia: Stanley Ka Dabba is such a beautiful film. Thoughtful and endearing it makes you cry and smile at the same time. Partho is a find.

vb779: Stanley ka dabba takes you back to your school days. Awesome movie. Must watch

varunwrites: The beauty of stanley ka dabba lies in the fact that there is no story just an incident

varungupte: Heard great things about Stanley Ka Dabba, so finally Amol Gupte gets his due

v1pul: Stanley ka Dabba - Fantastic, sweet little story with a heart in the rite place. Strongly recommended. If psbl watch with school friends :)

UrbanChick01: 'Stanley ka Dabba' is a must-watch! :D

tweet_kkkumar: Stanley ka dabba .. Go watch it if you still have not

tehriravi: Stanley ka dabba what a nice movie for kids. Grt work done

tanmayved: What a perfect weekend..Played Cricket for a full saturday then City wins the FA Cup then Stanley ka Dabba turns to be an absolute beauty..

taheena: Stanley Ka Dabba (Movie Review): A sparkling gem of a film, if ever there was one, Stanley Ka Dabba is the sort of rar

Swethlana: stanley ka dabba is juz superb....plz go watch da movie..itz touching da hearrt.....

swatidwivedi: Watch watch watch Stanley Ka Dabba :) It is cute and sensitive and moving at the same time!

sushantbhansali: Stanley ka dabba - no story but good fun, strong message and crowded thatre after a long time

SureshM_: Looking for something fat-free, sugar-free, light yet filling on the menu? Then take a bite from 'Stanley Ka Dabba'.

sundeepkishan: Stanley ka Dabba- I m hungry 4 more,Partho rocks,mindblowing BG score, @divyadutta25 was at her prettiest best,a Standing ovation 2 Mr.Amole

sumanthhs: Stanley ka dabba - very moving story, honest attempt to get the point across

Story_Tiller: Why Stanley Ka Dabba is as tasty and healthy as you'd like it to be - As always, read, comment and repost :)

SRastogi84: STANLEY KA DABBA - Saw it today and cant get rid of the lump in my throat. Simple, touching and yes A MUST WATCH!

SocialPaparazzi: kal dekha...i was speechless. Must watch hai! @kalamwalibai @SocialPaparazzi mat.. Stanley ka dabba dekh.. 'tis nice

smritimiddha: watched Stanley ka Dabba over the weekend.... nice movie

smartdipu: Watched Stanley ka dabba and really liked it!! 4 stars :)

singh_dr: +1 RT @RohanDasgupta STANLEY KA DABBA is an amazing movie. Amol Gupte has pulled off a masterpiece here. It's a #MustWatch. #MyRating 4/5.

siddharthag: Saw Stanley Ka Dabba...Such a beautiful film. Thoughtful and endearing it makes you cry and smile at the same (cont)

shruti_ravi: Stanley Ka Dabba?Charming film,really.Ok industry,you did your one nice thing in manure lot for a year thing.Rejoice.

shashanktodkar: Stanley Ka #Dabba #review: Simple, soulful, stylish

shamitasingha: Stanley ka dabba makes u sooo hungry!! Excellent background score!

sameer_s: stanley ka dabba - inginious

ronK30: Stanley Ka Dabba is such a beautiful film. Thoughtful and endearing it makes you cry and smile at the same time.

rohandasgupta: #MyReview: STANLEY KA DABBA is an amazing movie. Amol Gupte has pulled off a masterpiece here. It's a #MustWatch. #MyRating 4/5.

ratnakars: stanley ka dabba - a movie from a creative person - amol gupte - from the heart - don't expect a normal hindi movie

ranjanaeaswar: Stanley Ka Dabba did to me what Taare Zameen Par couldn't remotely come close to doing. It made me cry!

ramare: Saw Stanley ka Dabba too. Worth seeing once. And somehow made me realize I'm different frm the guy who saw TZP. No idea how, jus' feel it.

rakeshupar: Stanley ka dabba very good film ☺

rahibsiddiqui: ' Stanley ka dabba' must watch. Indeed a simple story wid a big heart.

Quirkylogic: Stanley ka Dabba: Poignant in its simplicity. Well done Amol Gupte.

proximoron: And i saw Stanley Ka Dabba today. Made me miss the school days all over again. Nice movie. Worth a watch.

programados: ★★★★★ Stanley ka dabba: A lunchbox full of delicious delights - Deccan Chronicle #cincoestrellas

Priraman: Stanley ka dabba - worth a watch

pmandrek: 'Stanley Ka Dabba' is a cute film with a strong message about child labor. The tiffin gang acted really well @stanleykatweets

pavanwitha_v: Neither. Go for 'Stanley ka dabba' great story telling by Amol Gupte!@iChocolatea RT So Fast and Furious Five or Ragini MMS?

parikshit_d: 'stanley ka dabba' a truly fascinating,straight from the heart,thoughtful piece of cinematic work...thanks Amol gupte and co..u made my day

pandyasheetal: Saw..stanley ka dabba..what a film.. Awesome.. All shud go and watch it.

nowme_datta: Stanley Ka Dabba is a sweet film. A really natural cast of actors and uncluttered languid storytelling. Not mawkish.

nivi15: Stanley ka Dabba...endearing, spontaneous, intense n well-crafted.Took me bk to the school days!:-)

nikkupikku: Stanley ka dabba.. Nice.. Adorable movie.. N Partho aka stanley ws superb! :)

nikhilnk: Watched Stanley Ka Dabba over the weekend. A very sincere attempt no doubt, but honestly an ok movie to watch. Still, go for it!

nehamaini: Don't miss Stanley Ka Dabba. I *will* judge you if you decide on Fast and Furious instead. #movies #love

neetakolhatkar: Stanley ka dabba!! Luuuuuuuuv it..thx amol guptey

MystiqueWanderr: saw stanley ka glad i did...had good co. too...nice evening to sum it up i say

moviezadda: a very good plot that delves deep into a child’s life and portrays it well on screen - Stanley ka dabba

Mitafashi: A+ for Stanley Ka Dabba

meetSidd: saw Stanley ka dabba .. sweet movie ..if u r expecting a wholesome entertainer this in not the one ..but a cute nd heartwarming movie ..

MayankBhardwaj9: Stanley Ka Dabba is simply superb. No doubt, highly recommended.

maulik_b: Stanley ka dabba is brilliant sensitive & simple cinema, the way innocence of children has been captured is remarkable! Kudos Mr. Gupte!

manuptwits: Stanley ka Dabba reminds me of a wonderful chapter from school in Marathi called Shrinivas panse che angaan.... Sensitive and touching...

Mandipaksandhu: stanley ka dabba is a great film

mandeepkapoor24: saw stanley ka dabba yesterday excellent movie by amole gupte but i still think he should act more in movies besides he is a good director

m_SaiK: did i say about "STANLEY KA DABBA" yet... brilliant amol gupte movie. i say one of the best hindi movie this year... must watch dont miss it

krixnetworks: Review Stanley Ka Dabba is a marvellous debut: Not so for Babubhai Verma, who reveres not and…

KoolRitam: Stanley ka Dabba is a definitely one time dekhho-- reservoir thats takes you back to school day memories !!!

Kniikhil: Stanley ka dabba (4/5) just 1hr35mins a vry simple stories awesomely made n well acted by Mr Amole Gupte n the child artist. must c, i say.

kavitaalve1: Stanley ka dabba..fab..amazing..took me straight to my school days...vry cute perfomances by all...

kartikeyasaran: Stanley ka dabba... Excellent acting, and the end keeps you vying for more.

Kantaap: Stanley ka dabba was darned cute.

iSiddharthdesai: Stanley ka dabba..!!!! what a beutiful film.. hats off amol gupte.. #mastermind #masterclass.. and parthos performance... #extremetalent

isealedmylove: Stanley ka dabba ..... a must watch :)

HrithikIsShit: its very good . RT @mysticalreticen: @devika_g hahahahaa.. heard Amol stanley ka dabba is gud!!

helina_vora: Stanley ka Dabba 5 stars :D ... amazing movie .. and superb acting by all

GodrejAppliance: The movie 'Stanley ka Dabba' makes one go back to fond memories of one's days in #school. How were your school days and school teachers?

garganirudh: stanley ka dabba is another example of talented indian kids and directors that can that hit six on the last ball

fisaali: Stanley Ka Dabba Review: Simple, Moving, Elegant

fallon_sav: wnt out with frnds aft such a long and saw 'stanley ka dabba' a gud movie.............. :)

dubey_gaurav: For all dose who missn d school tim stanley ka dabba is for u all

dragonette18: Good evening #Twitterheads . Just came back from a thought provoking and sensational movie - Stanley ka Dabba But first the news !

dips1980: Back from 'Stanley ka dabba'.Really a lill movie with a big heart.

Dipilicious: absolutely RT @UrbanChick01: 'Stanley ka Dabba' is a must-watch! :D

DeskFabregas: Stanley ka Dabba - good movie. watch it .

deepikins: Stanley ka dabba. Simple and touching movie. Catch it if you can.

dancervaidya: Stanley ka dabba is a good light watch !

dakshasoft: Stanley Ka Dabba is Delicious, Why?

daisyplumsong: i have went to see stanley ka dabba today morning. awesome movie. u have gt to see tht

cute_shanatic: Stanley ka dabba Spellbounding! and as @shahidkapoor a movie with a heart! A must watch :))) [Like it? ]

cssjockey: Watched Fast 5 and Stanley Ka Dabba both movies are awesome!! Day well spent ;)

cibi121: Watched "Stanley Ka Dabba" a great watch..Hats Off Amole Gupte Watta Actor and nw a Director..#StanleyKaDabba

ChantelleCabral: Watched "Stanley Ka Dabba".. I smiled, I laughed, I cried. Anyone with a soul can relate to it. Heartfelt! #mustwatch #win

chandniwadhwa: 'Stanley Ka Dabba'-A beautiful story,very well enacted and portrayed!Pure Good Cinema..Go watch it!! :-)

bruceruless: Watched 'Stanley ka dabba' today.. Please watch it people... A heart warming message for all of us #Epic #FTW

bongubharat: Stanley ka Dabba was awesome - A must watch !!

bombaybookworm: Stanley ka dabba was such a perfect morning treat. what a waste to end the film with ronald Mcdonald

bobin_james: Stanley ka Dabba. Beautifully made. Don't miss it.

bhavinvora: Stanley ka Dabba. Heartwarming. Must Watch!

bhatiavinita: Watched 'Stanley ka dabba'. What a poignant movie.

BCSutta: Stanley ka Dabba is the second best thing that happened this weekend... 1st was DMK ki batti gul.

ashinvi: Strongly recommend everyone to watch "Stanley ka Dabba". A fine story which leave you feeling nostalgic :)

anurag_mohan: Stanley ka Dabba is a nice film. 3/5. That kid was better than the Taare Zameen Par kid.

anshulgarg007: watched Stanley ka dabba......A little story with a BIG heart

anishasingh: liked Stanley ka Dabba. A simple, honest film. And Partho, the kid is simply brilliant!

anilkpai: Just saw stanley ka dabba... Amazing movie... tackled a very real and disturbing issue in a unique way.

andaleebwajid: Made up my mind..taking kids to watch Stanley ka dabba as soon as I sure sabs will relate to it..esp as he refuses to take one too

AnayDalal: Saw Stanley Ka Dabba...Amazing movie..Poignant and excellent..Must see.

anandcj: Loved Stanley Ka Dabba. SImple, Sweet, So touching. Great work, Amol Gupte!

Ammywalia: Stanley ka dabba is an amazingly beautiful film after a long time.⁰A karara thappad from mr gupte to mr pseudo perfectionist!

alisha_thaman: Stanley ka dabba ...a nice movie...

aliceinandheri: Really enjoyed Stanley ka Dabba... there's something about the film.

ajitjbhat: Loved 'Stanley ka Dabba', thank you Mr.Gupte for the skill with which you handled the subject, simple story, well executed 1/2

abyaya_d: Watchd stanley ka dabba yestrday..awsum flm..wd big heart!

abir_sanyal: Do yourself a favor.. go & watch 'Stanley Ka Dabba'..a very touchy film,with no self-pity and wonderfully transports you to Class 4..

abhishekbalu: stanley ka dabba... the mastermind behind "tarein zameen par" does it again... AMOL GUPTE- take a bow

abhibusy: Watched Stanley Ka Dabba yesterday total #win

aalokbiswas: STANLEY KA DABBA - awesome movie by Amol Gupte

Aagan86: stanley ka dabba is so cute

_tarkeebein: 'Stanley Ka Dabba'-A beautiful story,very well enacted and portrayed!Pure Good Cinema..Go watch it !! :-)

_SleepLover: Stanley ka dabba.. :P :P RT @iChocolatea: So Fast and Furious Five or Ragini MMS?

tweetgyan: Stanley ka Dabba is a documentary. A good movie for children and also for people who prefer to watch realistic cinema. #movie #review

ravikirana: Watched 'Stanley ka dabba'... Experimental film. Good concept. Film could have been better.

PsycheDylan: Stanley ka Dabba was just okay. You won't miss much if you only watch the second half.

prasannakumars: Stanley ka dabba is not exemplary as projected by media, just an Avg. movie with it's heart in the right place..

GautamReady: Stanley Ka Dabba - for the message to reach a larger section of the society, the movie should have had more commercial elements

cornerd: Stanley ka Dabba is weird

blahssome: And oh also saw, Stanley Ka Dabba. Cute little movie. But fairly unremarkable. Wonder what the hype was all about.

Sampad: Watched Stanley ka Dabba today. I think its superhype which led me to the theaters. I dont think its a theater-watchable movie at all #fb

ruchikabajoria: Stanley ka dabba is actlyy a dabba.... wat has happnd to d muvee critics, 4.5 ratngs 2 it. ddnt lyk it... bt still sum kids wer reli cutee

roysrus: Stanley Ka Dabba: Wondering if anyone would repay me for the tickets. I doubt it. Don't blame them. Waste of a Monday night.

nehakanwar: Stanley ka dabba needed some food in it . Movie was in a loop !

khyatisha: saw ragini mms,stanley ka dabba and haunted....none was so good to watch...:( disappointed bt njoed anyhow.:)

ghaywan: Am I the only one not too pleased by Stanley Ka Dabba?

chemingineer: Halfway through Stanley Ka Dabba I was expecting a parable of sorts. Turned out into a maudlin tearjerker with a loud social message.

AnshulGupta_: Stanley Ka Dabba is a dabba movie! Thoroughly boring. Learning - caution with Word Of Mouth and general buzz #MovieReview #fb

abhishek_1983: Stanley ka Dabba is for art overs not for people like me who managed 0 in arts also. It does now have the Bang for me.

11 readers - 7 yays 4 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by mazar : 5

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Best web hosting company : Really nice

Yay! Thumbs Up, by darrensy : 100

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Frases romanticas

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Gaurav Batla

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Limette

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Montu jain : 100

Yay! Thumbs Up, by rahul : 100

So-So, by amit

So-So, by Anil Paranjape : A disappointing Dabba: expecting something simple+yummy inside but finding so-so food :-(

So-So, by Neha : 99

So-So, by sharad

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

4th-grader Stanley gets into his gluttonous-Hindi teacher for not bringing his lunch box.

What Worked

  • The titles - a short story within the titles! Brilliant!!
  • The background music.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None!
  • Concept: Bonding over lunch breaks at school.
  • General Look and Feel: Simple and heartwarming.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Stanley Ka Dabba - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
95 minutes

Comments (9)

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Here - a music review for you!

Stanley ka Dabba: Verrry Tasty
Stanley ka Dabba is the Taare Zameen Par without the Apologetic Nature of the movie. The movie doesn't make you feel sorry for a 'Different Kid'. It doesn't black mail you anywhere to cry. Its like a breath of fresh air (Excuse the Cliche please). If you have seen 'Children of Heaven' by Majid Majidi you are going to love this one. The movie is sweet, calm, light and makes a point without stressing too much on it. Its one of those movies where you can just go in the cinema hall, immerse yourself in without thinking too much. An absolute recommendation this weekend.

Full Review:

In spite of whatever Amol Gupte may say, he has been so stung and angry and vengeful with Aamir Khan for his loss of Taare Zamin Par after he had worked on it qite awhile, that as a I'll Show Him exercise, he has come up with "Dabba".

So, does this film remind people of TZP ? Are there similarities ? Most important, except for Daisy Irani and Honey Irani aeons ago, the most wonderful child-actor of recent times has been Darsheel Safary. Is Partho equally talented, a notch better or less ? The answer to that question will be important in the decision to see the film or not,.

Watching this was similar to opening my own 'dabba' a few times: expecting something simple+yummy inside but finding something really so-so inside! I have no idea why Amole Gupte had to be so slapsticky. The plot (especially the tiffin-raiding teacher and his revenge) is pulled so much as to resemble a chewed-up-devoid-of-any-sweetness-piece-of-chewing-gum. It's so totally contrived. Except for a few warm scenes, it was not a very filling and satisfying dabba. Thankfully the child actor is not so artificially precocious that you want to slap the living daylights out of him/her. I have yet to understand why India cannot find really good child actors a la Joel Osment, Dakota Fanning, Justin Henry (Cramer vs Cramer) et al. The level of overacting they are made/encouraged to do (or are pardoned for doing it) is astonishing. But that's generally true of most acting. It's sad that natural and understated acting of stalwarts such as Balraj Sahni, Vikram Gokhale etc never caught on. Most Bollywood acting is (and has been) garishly overdone and the serials take it to their abysmal worst! Anyways... this child actor (and cohorts) were much better than the crop you see in most films and that was heartwarming. Maybe we're learning that artificially deep breathing and displays of face contortions in every imaginable ways and obnoxious close-ups of them is not really good acting. This may sound too broad-brushed but just venting years of hating bad acting in Bollywood movies. There are of-course some gems. One of the best acting scenes I have ever seen anywhere on earth is Sanjiv Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri during their wedding scene in Koshish. My god! They are both deaf and mute and have no idea what commotion is going on around them. She just takes it in visually and he's lost in his own thoughts. Amazing acting!

@Anil you are right about acting in general and acting/characters/lines given to children in Hindi cinema. I thought these guys were brilliant here, and thankful they didnt take their cue from the director. Another film with GOOD child actors is chillar party. They look and behave like children.

More generally, haven't you seen the new brand of actors - Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan? They really take you into their world.

In spite of whatever Amol Gupte may say, he has been so stung and angry and vengeful with Aamir Khan for his loss of Taare Zamin Par after he had worked on it qite awhile, that as a I'll Show Him exercise, he has come up with "Dabba".

So, does this film remind people of TZP ? Are there similarities ? Most important, except for Daisy Irani and Honey Irani aeons ago, the most wonderful child-actor of recent times has been Darsheel Safary. Is Partho equally talented, a notch better or less ? The answer to that question will be important in the decision to see the film or not,.

@Montu there aren't any similarities really, except that it is about 8-10 year old boys in a school. Partho is a good actor, we don't really need to compare with Darsheel - there is room for both.

I agree with you that the movie is perfectly enjoyable despite the "anti-climax". It does give you what you want (or expect) but, as a rare exception, that's very satisfying. Also glad to hear that the kids in the audience enjoyed the movie!

@Mette :D

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