There have been very few movies in the past that dealt with the education-related issues. I can count two in the last 10 years viz. Paathshaala and 3 Idiots. Anant Mahadevan in his new release questions the prevailing education system that gives more emphasis on rote learning than experiential knowledge.

Coming to the story, Santoshi’s (Tannishtha Chatterjee), life takes a U-turn when her husband Pradeep (Vinay Jain) gets embroiled in a money laundering scam. After filing for divorce from her husband, Santoshi leaves the city and goes to stay with her mother (Suhasini Mulay). In due course, being a physics professor Santoshi gets a job in a school to teach Physics. The principal (Kaizaad Kotwal) assigns her a group of students who are least interested in studies. Santoshi strikes an instant chord with the students and soon molds them and helps them to enjoy their studies. As time goes by these students start performing well in their exams too. Their lives change when a commercial coaching centre opens up in the school premises and Santoshi is asked to leave the school. Was Santoshi a victim of teacher poaching?

The story by Mahadevan and Sanjay Chauhan is quite interesting not only on paper but also on screen. One of the dialogues that actually hit me was, “If I am successful in getting the desired marks, will I be successful in life too?” Today when I look around I see most of my classmates who were backbenchers are the ones who are actually successful in their careers donning some of the biggest roles in an organization. Mahadevan is one of the most versatile and underrated directors in India. At one hand he easily churns out a masala potboiler like an Aksar or a Xpose and on the other hand he gives us some cinematic gems like Mee Sindhutai Sapkal or Gour Hari Dastaan and now Rough Book. Mahadevan yet again proves that he is a master story teller and with some wonderful story ideas and writing he can give you some wonderful cinematic creations.

Performances are top notch whether it is Tannishtha Chatterjee or Kaizaad Kotwal, Suhasini Mulay, Joy Sengupta, Amaan Khan and Vinay Jain who are in the supporting roles. The cinematography (Maneesh Chandra Bhatt) is awesome – case in point look at the frames used to convey the rural confines of Suhasini Mulay’s school.

Overall it is a wonderful gem of a movie worth a dekko!

My Verdict: ****

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