Paathshaala will wear you down!

Paathshaala will wear you down!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Monday 19 April 2010

Movie Title

Paathshaala will wear you down!


Milind Ukey

Star Cast

Shahid Kapoor, Nana Patekar and Ayesha Takia Azmi

Not one thing. You don?t like one thing about this film. Borrowing from previous hits always robs a project of its credibility. And when you take a serious subject and try and do a Taare Zameen Par (TZP) with a dose of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, it can only make for an unpalatable mishmash.

So we have a towering institution called SVM, a reputed boarding school; and we are about to see their staff meeting. Principal Sahay (Nana Patekar, in his career?s most boring role) addresses the staff of teachers - a timid Bengali, an eccentric Parsi, the young dietician (Ayesha Takia), the disciplined army man-turned-sports coach (Sushant Singh), a silent lady dressed like a retro heroine in extended eyeliner and a rose in her hair, and the new English teacher Rahul Prakash Udyavar (Shahid Kapoor, doing the cheery teacher act again after Chance Pe Dance), an obvious duplicate of Aamir?s Ram Shankar Nikumbh from TZP.

For reasons unexplained (why can?t they hire a music teacher), the staff laments the children?s yearning to learn music and pester Rahul to take them under his wing. He plays the guitar to the tune of Mere Khuda, a nice song, possibly the only thing that works in the film.

An overbearing trustee, meanwhile, hollers that the school?s not making enough profits - giving 5-star facilities and hiking the fee is the new idea. Now this is a topic likely to touch a raw nerve with city parents - the school systems are messed up and becoming increasingly commercialised. But the treatment of the subject makes you wish the makers would just leave alone an issue they can?t articulate and do justice to.

So back in SVM school, the management head (Saurabh Shukla) turns things around - students not purchasing a school basketball won?t be taken into the team, combo-meals will now have aerated drinks, and a child whose fee is delayed is made to stand under the sun through the day.

More melodrama - the school liases with reality talent hunt shows. The show casting-in-charge is insensitive and makes children cry; the director calls the kids duffers when they forget to mention the sponsors; and in one priceless scene when there is an accident on the sets, the director asks the camera to zoom in while the child is in pain. Now, all this is bull.

It?s over dramatised to the point of ridiculousness. And these manipulative tricks are shameful to say the least. Even the angle of a child, lonely due to an unattractive birthmark on his face, is thrown in for good measure. These tricks reek of makers who want to piggybank on a hit film (TZP), stars, and an empty film trying to pass off as issue-centric.

The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai element is prevalent: the director confuses school uniforms to be cheerleader uniforms, silly romance is added, and the child actors (a plethora of famous TV faces) are made to do their affected cute act.

The dialogue is insipid and could lull you to sleep. Performances are average; let down by the stiff characterisation. Director Milind Ukey?s style is a confluence of many - it?s an unoriginal voice constantly looking to the past for inspiration, instead of telling a story in his own unique expression.

As for the film, it?ll wear you down even before the halfway mark. Avoid.

Rating: 1 star

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