Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Paathshala: Punished for three hours
If any real-life kids went to the school shown in Milind Ukey’s “Paathshaala”, you can be sure they would hardly get any studying done. Instead they would be busy dancing, singing, ogling at teachers, romancing and participating in reality TV shows.
The teachers in this school aren’t any better — they also sing, dance, wear inappropriate clothes and generally do everything but the things you are expected to do in a school.
Director Ukey may have wanted to make a film on the ills of the education system (like “3 Idiots”, “Taare Zameen Par”) but instead manages to make a manual on “how not to make a film”.
“Paathshaala” starts off with the principal of a boarding school, Aditya Sahai (Nana Patekar), calling his staff and telling them the school would be undergoing some changes in order to “progress”.
These changes include the students giving up studies and participating in reality TV shows so that the school gets publicity (Yes, really).
They also involve the kids being made to participate in auditions for TV ads and cruel directors who want the kids to get hurt and cry so that they will get higher TRPs. Where do they come up with such things?
As you can imagine, “Paathshaala” is an incoherent mess of a film which takes a serious issue and manages to run it to the ground.
Why someone like Shahid Kapur would want to do a film like this is beyond me — of course, he doesn’t have that much to do, except smile and strum the guitar.
There is no script to speak of, the dialogues are so bad they are good (“these kids maybe the best players but they are not the best payers”, says one character) and the actors all appear to want to run ten miles away from the set.
I would recommend the same, run ten miles away from any place showing this film.