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Director: Prakash Jha

Starring: Adil Hussain, Priyanka Bose, Sanjay Suri, Shubham Jha

Written by: Prakash Jha

Streaming On: Zee5

PAREEKSHA is a heart-rending account of a poor rickshaw puller determined to help his son escape poverty by giving him the best education available in the city. Buchi Paswan (Adil Hussain) is a rickshaw puller and his wife Radhika (Priyanka Bose) works in a factory, Buchi wants to send his only son Bulbul (Shubham Jha) from Government school to the city’s best English-medium private school for a better future. Buchi struggles to meet the exorbitant demands that the English medium school makes on him after he shifts his son from a government institution. Bulbul is a bright student with an aptitude for Mathematics and Physics. Despite the jibes he faces in his new school on account of his humble background and his inadequate English language skills, he tops his class and earns the grudging approval of his teachers and the school management. But that isn’t the end. Bulbul Kumar, a bright young boy who has to suffer the consequences of being a rickshaw-puller’s son, the film goes beyond its immediate narrative bandwidth and indirectly raises larger questions. One rare individual who believes that things can change for the better strays into Bulbul’s life when the boy’s father is on the verge of losing the battle. This man is Senior Superintendent of Police Kailash Anand (Sanjay Suri), a character modelled on the real-life IPS officer Abhayanand Singh (who is acknowledged in the films opening credits). He uses his free time to tutor the children of Ranchi’s Ambedkar Nagar basti, where Buchi Paswan’s family resides.

The first half of the film is good but the second half becomes too melodramatic and feels repetitive. PAREEKSHA highlights the grave abnormality of our education system but doesn’t explores much beyond the obvious binaries seen in many films in the past.

Cinematographer Sachin Krishn has shot the film very well, and editing by Santosh Mandal is crisp. Production value could have been better. Overall the film is good technically.

Performances wise all actors have done a commendable job. Adil Hussian as the central figure stays true to his role though out the film and does a fanatic job. Hussain is ably supported by Priyanka Bose, who, too, has to move back and forth across a range of emotions. Shubham Jha, playing the role of the underprivileged boy who relies solely on his acumen to get ahead, delivers a confident performance. Sanjay Suri draws a convincing portrait of a man in uniform endowed with the spirit of a change agent.

Director Prakash Jha makes a few pertinent observations in the area it chooses to address, but it fails to bring other inherent complexities and contradictions one can’t overlook.

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