Paathshaala is an upcoming Bollywood film that revolves around children set in a school campus along with offering a stand on the shortcomings and malpractices of the Indian education system. The film stars Shahid Kapoor, Ayesha Takia, and Nana Patekar and is directed by Milind Ukey. Due release on April 9, the movie has Shahid Kapoor playing a school teacher, who teaches English and music to children.
Principal Aditya Sahay
A man of upright principles, Aditya Sahay has been responsible for the growth and reputation of Swaraswati Vidya Mandir for last 32 years. Teaching is passion for him. For the good education and for its discipline, he can go to any extent. Students and teachers revere him deeply though they also fear for his strictness. He loves his students and constantly works towards the new means and methods to improve on study methods. He is deeply concerned about his school’s standing against other schools in the city. For him, everything about education and the future of the students is a mission, even if it means to sacrifice his personal interests.
Teacher Rahul Prakash Udyavar
A young English teacher, who joins Saraswati Vidya Mandir recently, has very modern and liberal views about education and the growth of children. He is loving and compassionate. He takes no time in creating rapport with students and teachers alike. He goes out of the way to help students. He is the one, who stands against any injustice done to students. His mission is to create an education system based on true spirit, natural inclinations and an overall growth. Naturally he becomes an eye of a storm for the old timers in education system.
Teacher Anjali Mathur
An enthusiastic young teacher, who is always ready to take any kind of responsibility when it comes to the progress of students. She loves her job so much that she doesn’t mind taking multiple responsibilities of being a ECA teacher, hostel matron and a music teacher. When the oppressive discipline and other irregularities in school burden students, she stands by Rahul Prakash Udyavar in his fight against school management. She even sacrifices her career abroad for the sake of her fight for justice.
School manager Lallan Sharma
A typical ill-mannered and oppressive manager of the school. He misuses the powers of system to burden students with fees hikes and additional charges. He is rude to students and staff and even misbehaves with teachers. He takes deep pleasure in troubling everyone in around the school.
Teaching is a noble profession.
But does it hold true today? Hasn’t education succumbed to modernization as everything else, which is ruled by commercialization and consumerism in this age of rat-race? We read in the newspapers about students being bogged down under study pressures, parents burdened with fees hikes, teachers punishing students inhumanly, some students even dying in such cases or some committing suicide. What state of affairs have we brought our education system to? Paathshala tries to answer many such questions related to the sanctity of today’s education system. It 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. It’s shameful that even schooling has fallen prey to the pressures of competition and the vices of money-making mantra. Paathshala attempts to challenge such notions that threaten our children’s future and thus our society.
The story begins with a new English Teacher Rahul Prakash Udyavar (Shahid Kapoor) joining Swaraswati Vidya Mandir, situated in the outskirts of Mumbai suburbs. Though he strikes 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 extracurricular activities. He goes to the extent of punishing the students inhumanly when the new unjustified demands of the school are not fulfilled by the parents.
When Rahul Udyawar unifies the teachers (Ayesha Takia, Sushant Singh, and Kurush Deboo) against the atrocities of school management, the principal, Aditya Sahay (Nana Patekar), defends the management decision. This comes as a shocker to the teachers as Sahay is known for his dedication as an educationist for last 32 years, which has built the school’s high reputation. The situation becomes graver as school management becomes overambitious with its growth and involves media planners in the extracurricular activities. This demands the involvement of students in TV reality shows and many other media PR activities used for building up the school image in public which starts reflecting on the students’ stress levels. The pressure on young minds increases incredibly leading to unexpected and grim consequences.
Caught in the web of commercialization and internal rebellion, the school’s situation becomes so explosive that it finally becomes a national issue. Paathshala challenges the increasing immoralities and unethical practices in our education system. It analyses intricately the relationship between students, teachers and the education system with sensitivity and sensibility. It reflects the true spirit of an education system.
Paathshaala – an urgent and desperate eye-opening mission for our education system today.