Sixteen is an offering by first time director Raj Purohit. It is a heartwarming movie of intertwined stories about the trial and tribulations of teens on the verge of adulthood in present day India. It features the rites of passage of its characters, which are given good development by the filmmaker.
The movie is about a group of Delhi high school kids who go on an emotional journey. They have to deal with pressures from their parents and peers. The conflicts they face are everyday stuff people can relate too.
Sixteen highlights the dreams of the 16 year old girls and the single boy of the group. They also must deal with their raging hormones. Each of them has to grapple with the challenges of growing up in a time when temptations abound.
The girls talk about sex and use profane language without flinching. There are scenes in Sixteen that border on disturbing but still it manages not to be manipulative, exploitative or judgmental. It feels real by not incorporating typical Bollywood cheerfulness. One of the characters even advises another not to watch romantic movies and watch only good ones.
Sixteen is a good movie. It takes the audience into an environment that they can identify with. It is a place where simple juvenile problems can lead into big crisis for everyone. Anu (Izabelle Leite) wants to be a fashion model. Tanisha (Wamiqa Gabbi) is looking for her soul mate. And Nidhi (Mehak Manwani) is waiting for the right time to lose her virginity. The only boy in the group is Ashwin (Highphill Mathews) who rebels against his overbearing father (Zakir Hussain).
Sixteen might not have a big name in its cast but the members deliver great performances. The movie remains warm even if it tackles the bitter truths of the teens’ lives.