Raj Chakrabarty presents a sombre story of dark reality – a scary reality that is currently plaguing the nuclear families
Last Updated: 11.38 AM, Jun 05, 2022
Parambrata Chatterjee, Subhashree Ganguly and Samontak Dyuti in a still from Habji Gabji
Story: Husband and wife Aditya (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Ahana (Subhashree Ganguly) have everything that a modern family needs – a beautiful son Tipu (Osh Mullick plays the younger Tipu and Samontak Dyuti Maitra plays the elder role), a sprawling apartment, stable jobs and a big car. However, they have little time for Tipu. The father passes Tipu a mobile phone loaded with games as a standby ‘digital babysitter’. By the time his parents understand the depth of the damage done, it is too late.
Review: Tipu has busy parents. He demands their time but they are busy chasing their dreams. He gets used to living alone. His father, Adi, tries to keep him busy with his mobile phone. Adi teaches him games and that’s how it all starts. Tipu’s parents take a long while to understand the damage that they have done to their son’s life.
The story delves into the dark reality of gaming disorder that makes a child addicted to using the internet and/or mobile phone gaming. Tipu suffers from gaming disorder and that makes him irritable and anxious. When his parents take his mobile away from him, he becomes violent. His condition affects his studies. He starts lying and finally sinks into the black hole of gaming madness.
Contrary to the sense conveyed by the film title, the movie is definitely not about puerile trivia. Rather, its meaning gets clear when we substitute it by a word it rhymes with: PubG – the multiplayer online battle game – which is portrayed in the film vividly. On the whole, Habji Gabji is disturbing and unsettling. The social message that it intends to offer is to alert the parents of the consequences of gaming addiction.
However, in a sense, it takes a very myopic and judgemental view to convey the message. The film singularly puts the blame on parents, and as a result, ignores every other socio-cultural impact in today's life. This generic model of modern-day parenting is a tad far-fetched, even by the standard of a fictional work. Also, the film depicts a random assembly of scenes whose purpose seems primarily to prove that the mobile phone is a devil’s device of modern times. This seems to be a very general and commonly used inference that may not stand the test of rigorous scrutiny.
The film focuses on the family – husband, wife and child. From a suave investment banker to a heartbroken father – Parambrata is brilliant in portraying Adi. Subhashree once again proves her mettle. She started reinventing herself as an actor during Parineeta. That journey is evidently continuing for her. She is totally convincing as a tensed and anxious mother who is constantly losing control over her child’s mental health. Samontak is a young and promising actor. In every angst and anger, in every move to neutralize his enemies – he is perfect.
Verdict: While the subject of the film is disturbing, the making is free-flowing. It has a pace that successfully keeps people glued to the screen. The objective of the film is to convey a social message and it successfully delivers that. Habji Gabji is definitely a courageous attempt as it deals with a new challenge that impacts our children. The film has its twists in the end. Despite such a grim subject, the director does not really sugarcoat the characters.