Director: Milind Ukey
Paathshaala – Get irritated
In Paathshaala, we are taken to this school named Saraswati Vidya Mandir which is run in a no-complaints manner by the able principal Aditya Sahay (Nana Patekar). In his introductory scene, he takes a long yearning look at his school and then climbs up the steps stopping just to correct a late-comer. The kid frightened, pisses in his pants. Ignoring the fact completely that the kid needs some help, Nana trudges away. This is a premonition of things to come.
The school's a boarding school with an eclectic mix of teachers. Every stereotype is appropriately represented including the Parsi sir Cyrus Hansotia and the Hindi teacher who still follows the 70's Bollywood style. The school has a new recruit English teacher Rahul Prakash Udyavar (Shahid Kapoor). However, the nutritionist cum chef cum surrogate mother to little kids at boarding Anjali Mathur (Ayesha Takia) makes a desperate plea to Shahid to teach the kids music too.
Things go well until a very confusing meeting with the principal gives a hint to the teachers that the school is not as good as the other posh schools that have electronic boards and AC classrooms. Later lot of money-usurping things take place at the school like forced sale of sports and music equipments as well as manipulated canteen coupons.
However, the biggest nuisance is the attempt to get the school a lift in its face-value with the help of PRs who do a good job prattling and shoving laptop in your face. They propose to do reality shows and other non-sense of which we don't get a clue of, that will make their school name popular and I'm guessing the management committee a lot of moolah.
The school teachers are livid and the students get tired and depressed amongst all this drama. The teachers decide to take a stand through mass resignation but thanks to the eavesdropping, all knowing peon Waghmare (Anjan Srivastava) they get to see a file that shows the school is all set for new recruits. Screech! The plan comes to a halt and the track is changed. With Shahid as the leader the whole school is motivated to go on a strike. The protest catches media attention which forces the sleeping Mantriji (Minister) to wake up and voila, the interfering trustee is taught a lesson. Not money but education becomes the goal again!
The film reminds you of Mohabbatein - Shahid as music teacher and love stories among hormone-kicked students; Lucky – girls in uniformed skirts dancing and girl falling for older guy; Chance Pe Dance – yes, when you see Shahid with the kids you just can't stop yourself from drawing parallels; and Phoonk 2- don't 'whaa' me but there's actually a shot where they show kids with bloody face and peeling skin and the face of Swini inevitably makes you think of Phoonk2's poster!
Shahid Kapoor hasn't been given any scope at all! All he is required to do is to look cute. Ayesha Takia does fair justice to her role. Nana Patekar looks uncomfortable as if he's put in a mold he can't fit in. Sushant Singh is decent and Saurabh Shukla is convincing. Anjan Srivastava as Waghmare although relatable is boring. Ali Haji, no surprises here, is cute. Avika Gor is sad and Swini Khara is hair-raising. Dwij Yadav is good.
The uber sick attempt of having Nana Patekar pull a big B. He's also been given a speech to recite during climax. It fails to captivate, gives no gyaan and induces a headache. Groan.
The spineless script makes us wonder why makers haven't learnt yet to invest in good writers.
What's with the screenplay? There's a scene where Shahid comes hopping, no jumping, no wait jiggying…ugh comes in an obscure form of movement never witnessed in reality and then stops to look at the kids with loving eyes. Err…what was the point of that?
Dialogues especially those of Nana Patekar are just plain stupid. Get this- "It sounds nice, when it comes from your mouth." Okay, now out of the whole movie this dialogue goes to reflect the deteriorating standard of education, when it comes to the English spoken in our schools.
The snail pace of the movie is frustrating. Seriously guys, human kind is evolved enough to interpret a faster moving set of sequences!
The better than average music score of the film is a saving grace.
Shahid Kapoor's cute face helps keep open that eyelid too. But it's no consolation to those who aren't into Shahid.
The issue taken up in this film is commendable, that of education getting commercialized.
Yes or no?
The film digs into the mess of educational systems losing their nobility but the whole issue is highly dramatized to the point that everything seems fake and people may even start to think – Hey, this seems so unreal, it doesn't happen in my (or my kid's) school. And this is why the film fails to strike a chord.
I'd suggest catch it over a DVD.
Reporter and Author: Susan Jose