April 16, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Paathshaala is a 2010 Bollywood Hindi movie directed by Milind Ukey with Sahid Kapoor, Ayesha Takia, Nana Patekar, Saurabh Shukla, Sushant Singh in lead roles. Read the film review at CalcuttaTube.
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Ayesha Takia, Nana Patekar, Saurabh Shukla, Sushant Singh, Swini Khara, Dwij Yadav, Avika Gor, Anjan Srivastava
Director: Milind Ukey
Producer: Ahmed Khan, Shaira Khan;
Movie Review by Sampurn
Verdict: Paathshaala- Avoid this boring school
Rating: 2 out of 5*
There are few films, a star does for friendship and some with the lure of working under a big banner, irrespective of their content. An extremely choosy actor Shahid Kapoor after giving big hits like Vivaah, Jab We Met and Kaminey has been giving duds like Dil Bole Hadippa (Yash Raj Films), Chance Pe Dance (UTV) and an equally bad follow up with Paathshaala. Shahid’s friendship with producer of the film, ace choreographer Ahmed Khan is well known. But still we wish, he should have not blindly trusted his buddy when it came to a film!
Shahid plays Rahul Prakash Udyawar the new English teacher joining Saraswati Vidya Mandir, a school established in 1941. Since the school doesn’t have a music teacher, he ends up being one as well. He gets help in this from the school’s nutritionist-cum-admin girl, Anjali Mathur (Ayesha Takia). School principal Aditya Sahay (Nana Patekar). Anjali ends up falling for Rahul during this process. Sahay who has nurtured the school for 32 years, cannot see it going down financially. So, he gives in to the management’s demands of generating more revenue by commercialising the operations of the school. This is met with intense opposition from the teachers, but they eventually have to comply to save their respective jobs. The school management even decides t hired PR experts to change its image. Thus began, film and ad shoots happen on campus wherein students are used as extras. And before they know it, all kids have to now keep aside studies for 10 days and prepare for a reality show audition. The rest of the film is about how the reality show thing tortures the students and how Rahul stands against it.
Director Milind Ukey who gave us the very lovable animated film Hanuman has got a good topical subject on hand but falters big time in the script written by producer Ahmed Khan himself. While it identifies the problems perfectly, a proper solution is not offered in the end. Also what happens to the school finally is also not made clear. Bad dialogues are made only worse by loud acting by most of the cast. Certain emotional scenes leave you either bored or end up making you laugh. Hanif Sheikh’s music barring the Lucky Ali number Aye Khuda is nothing much to praise about.
In an attempt to showcase how education goes for a toss in private schools as the managements aims to earn the extra buck the makers also don’t lose out a chance to make a satire out of the media, shifting focus from his original aim. The pathetic climax is unintentionallyhilarious with no conclusion to what happened to the villains of commercialization and all suddenly become well!
Shahid Kapoor and Nana Patekar are the only saving graces of the film with their well nuanced performances. The rest including Ayesha Takia don’t really make a difference. The child stars are just about okay.
Avoid this Paathshaala if you are in no mood for a badly written gyan giving film.
Review by IANS
Verdict: Paathshaala-a film with its heart in place
If a piece of cinema ever had its heart in its place, this is it. Don’t let the sluggish pace, the absence of stylish shots and flamboyant frames fool you into believing that this is a film with no style.
The style behind ‘Paathshaala’ is in its inner conviction.
The obvious artlessness of presentation with the students and teachers of an imaginary school behaving with a bluntness that replicates the dialect of television talk shows rather than the realism of cinema, must not come in the way of our wholeheartedly acceptance of the film for what it is. An unconditionally sincere effort to understand why the country’s educational system pressurises children into performance anxiety.
While Basha Lal’s cinematography is free of poetic flourishes, the ‘Ae Khuda’ track just sweeps you off your feet. That is not the effect this grounded and sensible film and its unhurried pace strive to achieve otherwise.
The storytelling is suffused with sensitive pockets. To cite some examples – in one sequence the veteran sports teacher (played ably by Sushant Singh) gets together students to climb on one another to make a human pyramid for the sake of media coverage. The callousness of the freelance journalist as he talks into the cellphone while the students sweat it out in the sun, smothers your cynicism about such manipulative drama in the narrative.
Elsewhere, a little boy (Dwij Yadav) is made to stand in the sun for not paying the school fees. And then that decisive moment where a crass ad-maker reduces a little kid (Ali Haji) to tears, just chokes you.
The music reality show agent, who auditions the school kids as though they are fish to be fried straight from the market, is almost caricatural in his grotesque commercialism.
Then you realise that real life has sold out to a kind of vulgar self-gratification that makes it look more like a soap opera than the soaps that we see on television.
There is an inherent wisdom in the homilies that ‘Paathshaala’ serves up so sincerely. The narration is so laidback and detoxicated you often wonder if the director believes that the inherent harmony of real life can only be captured in leisurely grace.
Comparisons to Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ are inevitable. Though flawed and at times failed, the overview of the educational system in ‘Paathshaala’ is macro-cosmic in its own right.
The plot meanders into various issues that plague the educational institutions before negotiating itself into a clumsily ‘epic’ climax where the whole country’s media becomes interested in the politics of the school where the plot unfolds.
The unevenness of pace notwithstanding, there is no mistaking the film’s earnestness of purpose. Every actor, young and old, pitches an honest and transparent performance.
The stand-out (or considering the low-key pitch, should we say stand-in?) actors are Saurabh Shukla and Anjan Shrivastava. As for the children, let’s not discriminate among them. They are all utterly charming.
The film’s comment on the corrosion and corruption of education makes space for little-little flirty romantic liaisons among the older students. Cute!
As for Shahid Kapoor, the guy says his Hindi lines as though he just thought of them and expresses his connectivity with the kids with a warmth and effortlessness that makes the other superstar teachers on celluloid look rather put-on in comparison.