Director: Anant Narayan Mahadevan
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amaan Khan, Ram Kapoor, Jayati Bhatia, Joy Sengupta
Bollywood has seen many films that showcased sensitive issues pertaining to our Indian education system. Much like director Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘3 Idiots’, where he highlighted the issue of forced education on the youth while being trapped in societal norms, ‘Rough Book’ directed by Anant Mahadevan also touches on the same issue but in a subtle manner.
Despite of having a non-commercial cast in his film, Anant Mahadevan narrates a sensitive topic with ease. The story is set around the lives of children on a school campus, where it brings to light the Indian education system and its shortcomings.
Santoshi (Tannishtha Chatterjee), a physics professor by profession, is an ardent fan of books. Her life takes a sudden turn when her husband Pradeep (Vinay Jain) is caught up in a money laundering scam. Her friends, played by Joy Sengupta, Jayati Bhatia and Deepika Amin, support her in her in this adverse time. Santoshi leaves her house and files for her divorce with Pradeep. Soon after, she decides to leave the city and settles with her mother (Suhasini Mulay). On her way to home, she looks back to her bitter past and narrates her turbulent journey.
Post her divorce with Pradeep, Santoshi joins a school to teach Physics. Principal Sahani (Kaizaad Kotwal) assigns to her, a section of students who are least interested in academics. Amaan Khan (Suhail Kapur) is a charmer of the class, who also happens to be a rich spoilt brat of the city’s biggest lawyer Ram Kapoor. Santoshi instantly strikes a chord with the entire class and starts teaching her basic formulas with the help of day to day activities. Gradually, the students start enjoying her class and begin performing well in their exams. 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?
Director Anant Narayan Mahadevan, who has made several attempts in the thriller and romance genres, comes out with flying colours with his film ‘Rough Book’. The film is more of an eye opener as it gives a hard and critical look at the education system in contemporary India.
Writers Sanjay Chauhan and Anant Narayan Mahadevan have beautifully narrated the issue of ‘teacher poaching’ and the conspiracies running rampant in the Indian educational system. Maneesh Chandra Bhatt’s cinematography keeps the film close to home that you feel like you are living the story. Rupendra Das does a commendable job as a production designer.
I wonder how easy it was for the power house of talent Tannishtha Chatterjee, to pull off such a complex role of a professor with such ease. Her act in ‘Chauranga’ and ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ were notable, but her performance in ‘Rough Book’ surely depicts her versatility as an actor. Ram Kapoor is good in his small yet powerful role. Debutant Amaan Khan does a fairly good job as a student, but still needs to spruce up his acting skills. Jayati Bhatia, Joy Sengupta, Deepika Amin, Kaizaad Kotwal and Suhasini Mulay are good. Kudos to the team of producers, Shawn Arranha, Vivek Vaswani, Shaju Ignatius, Aakash Chaudhary and Rajesh Toraskar for making such a motivating film.
‘Rough Book’ is an off beat recipe with commercial ingredients but will surely make you recall films like ‘Paathshaala’, ‘Faltu’ and ‘Aarakshan’....