Recent times in Bollywood have seen filmmakers producing movies which are based on the concept of the flawed education system which children and teenagers are trying to cope with. Some movies projected this concept realistically, managing to capture the hearts and minds of many people, and hopefully teaching some much needed lessons along the way. Taare Zameen Par, and the very popular 3 Idiots (which was the biggest hit of 2009) are some movies that dealt with children and students and their issues (and it is also a coincidence that both these movies had Aamir Khan either as the producer/ director or as the actor) However, here is a movie which tried to show the same message and concept, but went horribly wrong.
PaathShaala is about a school that has been the best in Mumbai for over 20 years, and suddenly, the Principal (played by Nana Patekhar) decides to bring about some changes to the system to try to update the school and its policies. However, in doing so, he lets some morons take over the school, who only care about raking in profits, rather than focusing on the quality of education. All hell breaks loose, when the students start rebelling, supported by the entire staff of the school, as nobody can understand why the principal is letting the school be run by some of the most insensitive people in the world.
Shahid Kapoor plays the character of the new teacher who tries to help students in confronting the Principal, who till the end doesn’t explain what suddenly came over him.
Ayesha Takia plays the character of the school’s nutritionist, who is very close to the children and loves them as her own.
Adding to these three stars, there is an entire cast of teachers who played important roles in the movie. However, here’s the first disappointment: All those who were watching the movie in hopes of watching Shahid Kapoor prance around the building are in for a shock as the movie isn’t based on him, and he doesn’t grace the screen as often as we would have liked him to.
However, while promoting the movie Shahid did say that he wasn’t the main protagonist and had a 60 minute screen-space in the movie. So that was something that should have been expected.
The second disappointment was the amount of over-acting (and under-acting) some of the actors were doing. There were scenes showing so much exaggeration, and for a movie trying to portray a message, some parts of it weren’t realistic at all.
For one, there was horrible injustice being done to the children, that’s fine. Good enough reason to feel bad for the children. But everyone in the movie was always crying! The kids were crying, the teachers would start crying, even their tough-as-a-rock sports coach was teary eyed, at things that seemed so over-exaggerated that one cannot imagine them actually happening in private schools anywhere. You finally lose sympathy for any character in the end, since the fact that nobody could act out these emotions properly, and the silly music that would start playing each time somebody was about to start crying!
Shahid Kapoor looked good in the movie, but only when you weren’t looking at his face. Never did he ever smile, or look angry, or upset. He always maintained a stiff, emotionless expression, and talked so softly and slowly, that you could fast forward the scene for a few seconds, and he would still be talking about the same thing when you resumed the movie.
Nana Patekhar played the cold, quiet subdued card just fine, and was an object of fear and respect amongst the students despite the fact that he barely ever got angry.
Ayesha Takia played her character just fine too, but it was nothing memorable, just like some of the other various child stars and the teaching staff, who were either over-doing it, or just not delivering anything.
The music wasn’t nicely done either, and was a pain to listen to during the movie. The random songs didn’t help either, as all they were doing was simply increasing the duration of the movie.
The movie tried to show a certain message. However, it was definitely not a good attempt. It did not entertain; it did not strike the right emotions in the viewer; it was way too lengthy and repetitive. The ending also was very clichéd, long and uninteresting.
It might touch some people, or at least some parts of it. But in general, the movie is something one can simply read about to know what happens in it. But going through the entire two and a half hours seem like an unfair punishment for anyone – Manal Faheem Khan
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2010, Genre – Drama, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Shaira Khan , Ahmed Khan, Director – Milind Ukey, Music Director – Hanif Shaikh, Cast - Nana Patekar, Sushant Singh, Ali Haji, Shraddha Arya, Shahid Kapoor, Ayesha Takia Azmi, Swini Khara, Dwij Yadav, Avika Gor, Saurabh Shukla, Nassar Abdulla, Sanatan Modi, Anjan Shrivastava, Vicky Ahuja, Preeti Kopikar, Anjan Shrivastava, Sunny Singh, Shraddha Arya, Chetan Motiwala, Rishabh Jain, Sagar Kale