How often do you watch a teen drama and not get irked by all the clichés? Very rarely, right? Well, Disney Hotstar’s first Indian-American crossover film, Spin, is here to change your perception.
‘Spirit Of India,’ with this as the first frame of the film, we enter the universe of a 15-year-old Indian-American teenager, Rhea (Avantika Vandanapu). Juggling between her school life, her friends, and her father, Arvind’s (Abhay Deol) restaurant, we get introduced to Rhea’s world, a world that the director, Manjiri Makhinjay, has created in the most alluring and charming way.
‘Spin’ Plot Summary
Rhea takes us on a journey full of real and relatable relationships. Our adolescent protagonist has a doting and warm family. She lives with her widower dad, Arvind, her Nani (Maternal grandma), Asha (Meera Syal), and her little brother. Along with a super loving family, she has a bunch of super excited and fun friends, who we meet while they are all working on an upcoming fundraiser, ‘Festival Of Colors,’ which is beautifully inspired by the Indian festival Holi.
And amidst all the event’s chaos comes the ‘boy,’ Max, with his enchanting blue eyes and gorgeous smile. He introduces Rhea to the world of DJing. Because she is already fascinated by everything related to music, she is immediately drawn towards it. While helping Max compose a track for the fundraiser, she realizes her talent for it, but still a little unsure as she finds herself at a crossroad between her dreams and her responsibilities, not able to figure out which way to choose.
Will Rhea focus on her reignited fervor for music, or is this just another teenage passion that will just fizzle out with time?
The characters that Manjiri Makhinjay (director) and the writers Carley Steiner and Josh A Cagan have carved are reasonably and thoughtfully fleshed out. None of the scenes look forced, and everything just fits well and as it should be.
Abhay Deol plays the protective yet friendly and liberal father, in a very attentive manner. Meera Syal has just the right amount of Bollywood and poise in her. She is ‘filmy’ when the script demands, emotional when she needs to, and absolutely elegant when she has to. Avantika brings hope, longing, and beauty alive on the screen.
Even though it’s Disney’s first crossover film, the team hasn’t elucidated this repeatedly and emphatically. It’s refreshing to see a group of friends where everyone genuinely cares for one another and that the protagonist is not some diffident who is looking for validation and approval from the school elites. No one has to be the underdog, and the rich and famous are not behaving as the regular ‘mean girls.’
The music is exceptional. You might find yourself tapping your feet and grooving with the aesthetically composed tracks. The way they have worked on the detailing and the aesthetics of the music is absolutely meticulous. The vinyl records, the DJ setups, and how the characters enjoy when they are around music will definitely push you to hum along.
This film gives you multiple things to take away without shouting the lessons in your ears and without spoon-feeding the audience. Everything happens organically, and that’s the engaging quality that everyone would definitely appreciate.
Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, you wouldn’t want to miss this one. Watch with your kids and enjoy some quality family time.
Spin is a 2021 Dance Film directed by Manjari Makijany. It is a Disney Channel Original Movie.