‘Sixteen’, as the name of the movie suggests is all about the present generation – teenagers and adolescents. It revolves mainly around the life of four friends but speaks in general about the mindset of most of the teenagers today. It shows us how teenagers these days are very much affected by their parents, peers and also the surroundings.
The movie begins with two shocking scenes, that of a young boy pointing a gun at someone, ready to shoot and the other of girl on the verge of committing suicide by slitting her wrist. It then takes you back to narrate the story of how they came to be in that situation.
Anu is a beautiful and carefree girl who wants to make it big in the world of fashion and modeling. She is the richest among her friends, but that does not seem to bother them. She takes them out for parties and shows them how to live the life of an adult – by going to night clubs, drinking etc. Her parents are very easy going and know about her lifestyle and are completely fine with it. So she, too, is quite happy that they are the ‘cool kind of parents’. Only later does she start to despise them when she finds out that they are in an open relationship. This shatters her as she had considered them to be her role models.
Tanisha is the most mature among the three friends and is in search of a partner who is just as mature as her. She is the one to withdraw at the slightest sign of a flaw and does not find any of the boys her age ‘perfect’. Finally she finds something attractive in the new tenant staying at her house. The tenant also, who is a writer, starts taking interest in her and they bond well on many outings. Since her parents had passed away in an accident, Tanisha lives with her young and single aunt. The problem arises when her aunt starts to like him too and tells him about it. He therefore decides to leave their house and move away rather than choose between the two women.
Nidhi is the sweetest and most easily influenced person in the group. She is dating her classmate Karthik. She is the kind of girl who believes in fairy tales and waiting for the right moment to get intimate with anyone. But her boyfriend does not want to wait to take things further. Giving in to pressure from her friends and wanting to please her boyfriend, she sleeps with him. But later she finds out that she is pregnant. They try to abort the child without telling anybody but due to some complications she is shifted to a bigger hospital and her parents eventually find out.
Ashwin is a simple and quiet boy who is pressurized by his father to study well and become an IAS officer, although he has no interest in it. His best friend is Tanisha whom he secretly loves. When he tells her so, she politely rejects him but does not stop being friends with him. Heartbroken, he almost commits suicide but later changes his mind. When he reaches home his father starts beating him up after finding porn on his study computer. Unable to bear the physical abuse anymore, Ashwin retaliates and kills his father. He then flees from the scene and goes to a far off place. There he becomes a part of a gang of boys of the same age and together they carry out robberies.
Towards the climax of the movie everyone is faced with some or the other problem. Anu is depressed about a sex tape of hers being circulated and wants to commit suicide. While she is still thinking about slitting her wrist, her brother calls her up to tell her that he will be with her the next week. Upon hearing that, she gives up the idea. Tanisha is sad because the man she loves is leaving her and wants to spend their last night together by sleeping in his bed. Nidhi is ashamed to face her parents because she let them down. But they are supportive of her and treat her gently. Ashwin almost shoots an old man while the gang robs his house but then his conscience stops him from doing so. He then surrenders to the police and is put in a juvenile home where he is visited by his friends.
‘Sixteen’ mirrors the life of our young India. The youth in this age are poles apart from the youth about fifty years back. They are very modern and rebellious. Their mindset is influenced by what they see around them or on the TV. So they have to be dealt with utmost care. Even a small mistake can prove to be disastrous. The youngsters today want to be treated like adults. They argue that they know what is best for them. Therefore, parents must give importance to the opinions of their children but not completely leave the decisions up to them. They must be brought up in good surroundings so that they do not get spoilt or feel neglected. Most importantly, parents must be friendly and understanding towards their children. No matter what mistake or blunder they commit, it is the duty and responsibility of parents to be with them in their hard times. This alone can make or break the situation.