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PAATHSHAALA - Movie Review : Raises a relevant question but not in an amusing way. (Review by Bobby Sing)
16 Apr, 2010 | Movie Reviews / 2010 Releases

Ask any parents and the most common problem being faced by them in the current times will bring out the real picture of the educational institutes functioning in our present social system. Fast moving towards the extreme commercialism of this noble profession, the schools and colleges of every major city are no-where less than any corporate business houses running with the sole motive of profits. Have they forgotten their actual task of imparting education to the future generation and Have they completely given up the nobleness of the profession….are the questions raised by this well intended project aptly titled “Paathshaala”.

But unfortunately only the intensions are right here and the movies majorly fails in its execution. It only touches the outer core of the situation and that too in a very uninspiring way with no clear suggestions or solutions to the problem. The story is about a decades old reputed school and its honorable principal, Nana Patekar, who loves his profession with a passion. He sincerely wishes to raise his school standards matching the other famous schools in the area but is not willing to try some cheap media practices for the same. And when he bows down to the enormous pressure from his management, the school students declare a strike lead by their new English teacher played by Shahid Kapoor. The idea was good pointing towards the harsh realities being faced by every parent in the society. But it’s the treatment which doesn’t allow the movie to make any kind of serious impact on the viewers.
The weakest part of the movie remains its school sequences which repeatedly go over the top to the extent of being unrealistic. The way the school manager behaves with the parents, staff and his own school children is utterly unbelievable. In fact it is quite bizarre to see several rude sequences in the movie where at one end the school is increasing the fees & other expenses being charged from the students and at the same time also behaving like a vegetable seller selling some unique vegetables in the locality with an attitude. Particularly the scenes in the second half, involving the media professionals working with the students to create some media presence for the school are extremely cruel and unbearable. Students standing as a pyramid waiting for the photographer to click, a girl suffering from chilies gone into her eyes and a child standing outside in the sun for hours cannot be accepted as a normal practice in prestigious schools having a reputation.
On top of this, it’s the climax which leaves you unmoved with Nana Patekar delivering a not so convincing speech to justify his decisions. The speech which should have been as hard hitting as a slap on all such institutions turns out to be very subtle and sweet lacking the required passion. Director Milind Ukey no doubt opted for the right idea for his project, but the delay in its release took away all the freshness from the subject. Recently we have witnessed far better version of the theme in 3 IDIOTS and also in TAARE ZAMEEN PAR in the past. Comparing to these two hit movies, PAATHSHAALA proves to be simply spineless in its projection of the problem. Its script is a collage of too many things happening on the school front ranging from class division to adolescence infatuation, which restricts any particular sub-plot to register it-self. Hanif Sheikh’s music has also got nothing great in it but has one good song “Aye Khuda Teri Marzi Ke Aage Kya Hoga” sung by Kailash Kher.
However, performances remain the only merit of “Paathshaala”, with Nana Patekar very calmly playing the willing principal and Shahid Kapoor enacting the revolutionary teacher with elegance. Nana could have left an even better impact on the viewers only if his last speech had been given much importance by the writers. Surprisingly he is also there in the movie for a very short span of time which pinches a lot. Shahid’s otherwise brilliant performance also fails to shine brightly in absence of a well defined character in the script. His teacher act also reminds you of the one recently seen in his last dud “Chance Pe Dance”. Still he looks very good and likable in his role of a Music cum English teacher. Ayesha glows on the screen with her cute smile. Sushant Singh, Sushmita Mukherjee and Anjana Srivastave are just fine but Saurabh Shukla plays it loud as the manager. The movie also has some actors in the supporting cast who can now be spotted in some famous tele-serials. For instance, just look out for the talented “Anandi” from the serial “Balika Vadhu” standing among the school kids.
To sum up, “Paathshaala” has the much needed message for all the Educational Institutes trying to become the money spinners for their trustees. But its lackluster execution would not be able to initiate any change in the society. I only wish it was that strong as a movie to have got something started.

Rating : 2 / 5


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16 Apr 2010 / Comment ( 2 )
Shandilya Dixit

Hmmm.. Agreed..
Some of the moments were touching but the subject could have been handled in a much better way..

Bobby Sing

Thanks Shandilya, Keep writing in.......Cheers!

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