Director: Madhu Chandra
Cast: Kishore, Parvathy Nair, Ashwin Vijay Kumar, Suchendra Prasad
Rating: 3 stars
There is a famous pictorial message (widely circulated on social media), which talks about the present educational system in the simplest and best possible manner – a man shown asking different animals (a crow, monkey, penguin, elephant, fish in a bowl of water, dog) to climb a tree for a fair selection. Whereas, Vascodigama directed by Madhu Chandra is an ‘idiotic’ approach in lighter vein while still holding a mirror to the system in question.
Despite severe flaws, the film is a class apart when compared to the similar ones which are usually preachy and scratchy! However, depicting a lecturer and a principal in the most irresponsible manner as openly as encouraging students to chill out, smoke and play cards inside the college premises, is very hard to digest and reflects the mindset, and the maker’s standards of learning. A spelling mistake in the title (shouldn’t it be Vasco da Gama, and not Vascodigama) is itself an evidence of what proper education can do.
Apart from the exaggerations, Vascodigama is likeable for the reason that it does an encouraging job through entertainment, probably the best way to reach the larger audience. The plot revolves around a Kannada lecturer, who believes in unconventional methods of teaching, and not in restricting the minds of students to ‘rote’. Kishore handles the ‘subject’ pretty well in not less than eight different avatars as Vasu D Gamnahalli alias Vascodigama, and scores high on romance with a fellow lecture beautifully portrayed by Parvathy Nair.
Hitting the nails hard to prove a point, the film effectively relies upon humour, which keeps the audience connected to the core subject. It takes a serious turn in the middle when a student attempts suicide and the real picture is revealed before the founder of the institution, who was till then is duped by the college management. Shanthi, the English lecturer (Parvathy Nair) is made the new principal after she assures the founder in changing the scenario towards becoming the top institution, in real sense. Will she succeed in doing so, or is there a twist to it? Worth a watch with an eye for bigger picture on whether should learning/education be a pleasant process for students in finding their real talents or should they be forced to stick to conventional methods, and learn by rote which is sadly taking the lives of many innocents.