Pareeksha from Prakash Jha is yet another social commentary from the director about the oppression faced by the Dalit in our country. The movie isn’t actually a complicated topic and we get a clear picture of its focus and aim in the very beginning itself. But in the second half of this movie, Jha presents an emotionally disturbing scenario and actor Adil Hussain takes it to the next level with his performance. Pareeksha is a recurring theme, but the performances and the conflict make it a recommendable movie.
Bucchi is a cycle Rickshaw wala. He takes the kids of rich upper caste people to a posh CBSE school in his rickshaw. But his own son Bulbul who was a bright student was studying in a government school where teachers rarely cared for the kids. A concerned Bucchi who knew the only way for them to rise in society was education, decides to take up this huge risk of getting a seat for his son in the posh CBSE school. The huge financial liability that came along with this dream and how that changes the whole picture is what Pareeksha showing us.
In the past, with movies like Dangal or Nil Battey Sannatta, there was this debate that wasn’t those movies showing the parents asserting the pressure of their dreams on the children? One thing I loved about the movie Pareeksha is that the dream of Bucchi to give the best education to his son comes from a place of understanding. It is not like he was forcing his son to study hard against his will. As a viewer, I was predicting the story to follow a particular structure and it was interesting how the climax of my prediction sort of became the interval of this movie. The good thing about that structure was that it showed a tragic state of things and yet narrated the story with a sense of optimism.
Adil Hussain as Bucchi exploits this role to show the audience the depth of his acting range. The way he gets into the shoes of this character is impeccable. Bucchi is uneducated but knows the importance of education. This is a character that could have ended up as a caricature as the writing here is making him an extremely peculiar character who just latches on to an idea in the strangest of ways (He decides to buy the uniform for his son without even bothering about whether he will get the admission or not). Hussain’s success was in making Bucchi so believable. The scene where he meets his son and wife for the first time in the jail is heart-wrenching. Priyanka Bose as the equally concerned mother of Bulbul also delivers an endearing and earnest performance. Sanjay Suri’s character is based on the real-life police officer Abhayanand and it wasn’t really a tough role to pull off, but he handled the role gracefully. Shubham Jha as the determined Bulbul was also quite memorable, especially in that board meeting scene where everything sort of depended on his performance.
Prakash Jha who has always been political and vocal about social issues and inequalities in his movies once again picks a topic that needs to be discussed; the right to quality education. Jha knows the danger of proposing an idea that government schools aren’t as great as private schools and he cleverly uses the police officer character to negate that possible interpretation. On a writing level, it isn’t that nuanced in the presentation. But what I liked about the movie is the way it created the drama. The post-interval scenario is melodramatic and yet deeply affecting. The predictability that caused issues to the script gets help from moving performances. Jha isn’t trying to invest too much on the climax that is easily guessable. Instead, he focuses more on building a Bucchi who had to go through a lot because of his desire to provide good education to his only child.
Pareeksha is one of those films where the topic and the structuring of the script make it an impactful drama. I don’t find it cinematically compelling, but the script has enough to make you think about the uncomfortable reality through which Bucchi was going through in the movie.
Pareeksha is one of those films where the topic and the structuring of the script make it an impactful drama.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended