Pareeksha Review | Pareeksha Movie Review | Pareeksha Zee5 Movie Review| BOTTOM LINE: A Simplistic Take On The Complex Class Divides In Education
|Platform: ZEE5||Genre: Social Drama|
What Is the Story About?
Pareeksha is a slow-paced, gritty take on a humble rickshaw-puller’s struggle and strife to secure a better education, and hence a better future, for his exceptionally bright son.
Buchi Paswan (Adil Hussain) is a poor rickshaw puller who plies his trade in Ranchi, Jharkhand. In the course of his day’s work, he also ferries school students to and from the city’s elite private school, Sapphire School. It’s obvious that only kids from privileged backgrounds attend the expensive, English medium school. On his part, Buchi ensures that his own son Bulbul Kumar (Shubham Jha) doesn’t miss a day of his lowly government school. One fine day, realization dawns on him that Bulbul, despite being the bright student he is, will have a limited future before him at best, courtesy the government school he goes to. So he dreams a dream of his own — of securing Bulbul’s admission in the best school in town, Sapphire School, to give him a level playing field in life.
Initially ridiculed, admonished and made fun of, Bulbul soon wins over his peers and teachers at Sapphire with his precociousness. But Buchi has to pay a heavy price for daring to realise an impossible dream. Weighed down by the financial demands of sending Bulbul to the fancy school, Buchi stretches his rickshaw pulling hours. Bulbul’s mother Radhika (Priyanka Bose) also works double shifts at her factory job to meet the expenses. But that is simply not enough. Ultimately, unbeknownst to both Bulbul and Radhika, Buchi takes to committing petty thefts to fulfil the ensuing hefty costs. The novice thief is soon caught and sentenced to a prison term. His tryst with the law brings an unlikely saviour into Bulbul’s life – Kailash Anand (Sanjay Suri), SSP of the Ranchi Police. Moved by Buchi’s plight, the SSP takes it upon himself to coach Bulbul in the final months before his boards.
Will Bulbul make it past his approaching Board exams despite his father’s ignominy? Or will the Paswan family’s unlikely dreams be shattered before they can take flight?
Adil Hussain has breathed life into his portrayal of an unlettered rickshaw puller who dares to dream lofty dreams for his son’s education. He conveys Buchi’s endearing naiveté and earnestness with a convincing and assured performance. Hussain shines in several scenes in Pareeksha. The scene when he knowingly commits his first theft and then shows the spoils to the local fence, Pandey, has him shaking like a leaf. It is an outstanding bit of acting. Likewise, when he brokenly opens up to the SSP about his reasons for taking to the criminal life and his subsequent regretful anguish. Buchi Paswan is one of Adil Hussain’s best performances till date.
Priyanka Bose has put in a poised performance as Radhika. Her portrayal is flawless and convincing. Young Shubham Jha is earnest as Bulbul Kumar.
Sanjay Suri impresses in his short but sharp role as SSP Kailash Anand. He is authoritative but not overbearing in a measured, impactful portrayal. His role is modelled on the real life DGP of Bihar, Abhayanand, co-founder of the famous Super 30 program that trains and sends poor deserving students to the IITs every year.
The most remarkable facet of the performances is the fact that all the actors get the Bihari accent just right – not the caricaturish, over the top kind that is the bane of the stereotypical Bihari portrayal in Bollywood, but the natural, steeped-in-authenticity kind. The result is that it adds to the persuasiveness of the story as a whole.
Pareeksha is a story that has its heart in the right place. Written and directed by Prakash Jha, the movie has his distinctive stamp throughout the 1 hour 45 minutes run time of the movie. With Pareeksha, Jha revisits his pet peeves – class and caste disparities in India, and more specifically, in Bihar and Jharkhand. Just like several of his previous works, Aarakshan, Satyagraha, Mrityudand, among several others of the same ilk, Pareeksha focuses on how poverty, their social strata and place in the lower sections of society affect the educational fortunes of poor students. Their inherent intelligence, academic brilliance, sincerity, efforts hold no value in an education system that weighs heavily towards the rich and moneyed.
Pareeksha touches upon a crippling flaw in the Indian education system. It is a story that cries out to be told and retold, in the hopes that the frequent retelling may herald a change in the abominable situation of the current Indian educational system. But Pareeksha falters in one crucial aspect – it presents a laughably simplistic take of an infinitely complex and vexing issue, much too simplistic to be taken seriously and bring about a lasting change or remodelling in the current system.
Though it encompasses all the pathos of the grim, gloomy and disheartening state of affairs, it does so in a frivolous, superficial manner. A little more gravitas, infused with a bit of lighthearted entertainment, would perhaps have worked better to make the narrative more affecting and galvanising. In Pareeksha, difficult situations arise, but before they explode into larger issues, compelling us to think, ponder and ruminate over the ramifications, they magically resolve themselves quickly and easily.
Pareeksha is a well-thought-out story, though not as thought-provoking as Prakash Jha’s previous offerings on similar subjects. What the movie lacks is sheer, overpowering, potent rawness, a quality that elevates a humdrum story to a memorable cinematic gem – something we’ve come to expect from a filmmaker of Prakash Jha’s calibre and ouvre.
That said, Pareeksha is certainly a good, one-time watch, especially at a time when the country grapples with Covid-19, closed schools and millions of impoverished students languishing with zero access to online education facilities.
Music and Other Departments?
The music of Pareeksha is largely a dispensable appendage of the movie. It is the production design by Udai Prakash Singh that is the true star of the show. The sights and sounds of small town Jharkhand have been recreated perfectly, down to the last detail. The cinematography by Sachin Krishn is compelling, and Santosh Mandal’s editing is exquisite. Not a scene overstays its welcome, or is rough at the edges. Prakash Jha’s direction is superb, as always – meticulous and seamless. The technical aspects of Pareeksha amply make up for the lack of gravitas in the storytelling.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, as a one-time watch
Pareeksha Review by Binged Bureau
|Pareeksha Review | Pareeksha Movie Review | Pareeksha Zee5 Movie Review |
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