New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) 'Commercialisation' and 'unethical practices' related to the education system in the country are some of the issues that director Milind Ukey's debut venture "Paathshaala", which releases Friday, highlights as it takes a macro view of the issue.
Debut production of choreographer-turned-director Ahmad Khan, "Paathshaala" stars Shahid Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Suniel Shetty and Ayesha Takia. Child actors like Swini Khare from "Cheeni Kum", Ali Haji from "Fanaa", Dwij Yadav from "Nanhe Jaisalmer" and Avika Gor of "Balika Vadhu" play pivotal roles in the movie.
Rumours were also rife that Shahid plays an extended cameo in the film but Ukey slams them.
"Shahid is not making a guest appearance in the film. I don't know from where this rumour has surfaced. The film is narrated from his point of view and he is an integral part of the project," Ukey told IANS.
"He is a wonderful person to work with. He is an intelligent and creative actor, who gets completely involved in the character he is playing, contributing that something extra to the character," he added.
Revolving around the Indian education system, it deals with contemporary and socially relevant issues regarding children.
The movie sheds light on the shortcomings and wrong doings in today's schools where the high morals and basic ethics associated with the teaching profession seem to have taken a back seat.
The story begins with a new English teacher Rahul Prakash Udyavar (Shahid) joining Swaraswati Vidya Mandir school, situated in the Mumbai suburbs. Though he strikes an instant rapport with students and teachers alike, he realizes that there is something amiss in the school.
Slowly his doubts prove true as the school manager Sharma (Saurabh Shukla) makes many monetary obligations compulsory on the parents in the name of extra-curricular activities. He goes to the extent of punishing the students when the new unjustified demands of the school are not fulfilled by the parents.
When Rahul unifies the teachers (Ayesha Takia and others) against the atrocities of the school management, the principal Aditya Sahay (Nana) defends the management's decision. This comes as a shocker to the teachers as Sahay is known for his dedication as an educationist for the last 32 years during which he has built the school's high reputation.
The situation turns grave as the school management becomes overambitious with its growth plans and involves media planners in extra-curricular activities.
This demands the involvement of students in TV reality shows and many other media PR activities used for building up the image of the school.
The pressure on the young minds increases incredibly leading to unexpected and grim consequences.
Caught in the web of commercialization and internal rebellion, the situation becomes so explosive that it finally becomes a national issue.
"Paathshala" challenges the 'increasing immoralities' and 'unethical practices' in the Indian education system.
Most of the film was shot at Film City in Mumbai where the set of the Saraswati Vidya Mandir school was constructed. Covering an area of 20,000 sq ft, it encompassed all the facilities that a school has.
Shahid is going from school to school to promote the movie. Having visited Beacon High School in Khar, he is now going to visit Gyan Bharti School in Delhi.
The music of the film has also managed to impress the audience with its hummable lyrics.
Aamir Khan's "Taare Zameen Par" that also talked about issues related to children was an instant hit with the audience. Now it is to be seen if this one manages to recreate the magic and leave a message.