Pareeksha can act as a catalyst in our understanding of our education: Prakash Jha
Director Prakash Jha, and lead actors Adil Hussain and Priyanka Bose talk about their recent film, Pareeksha, which is currently streaming on Zee5
Continuing his penchant for films on social and political ongoings, Prakash Jha’s latest OTT offering, Pareeksha: The Final Test, has received a lot of appreciation. From the 50th International Film Festival of India in the Indian Panorama Section in 2019, it premiered at the London Film Festival and recently travelled to the Indian Panorama of the 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival. Written, directed and produced by Jha, Pareeksha is inspired by real events. It makes a sharp comment on our education system, which has become the monopoly of the rich and remains inaccessible to the masses. The film borrows from the real experiences of IPS officer Abhayanand, the former DGP of Bihar.
Will this film be an agent of change? “I have no idea whether the outlook towards education will change with my movie but I have tried to tell an engaging story. We can act as a catalyst in our understanding of education. The main idea was to tell a good story,” says the National Award-winning filmmaker. He reveals that it was the real-life experience of his friend—IPS officer Abhayanand—that gave birth to the film. “He narrated his experiences from the Naxal-affected villages in Bihar. He found the kids to be intelligent and began coaching them. Some of them went ahead and got the best of education. This encouraged me to weave the story. Sanjay Suri plays the role of my IPS officer friend,” he adds.
The much-celebrated actor—Adil Hussain—plays the role of a father wanting the best for his child in an adverse situation. He is an ordinary rickshaw wallah with an extraordinary dream. Taking a cue from the humble rickshaw-puller played by Balraj Sahni in Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin and Om Puri in Roland Joffe’s City of Joy, Hussain too got into the skin of the character. He worked up quite a sweat pedalling the cycle rickshaw and gave a nuanced performance of a rickshaw-puller’s life. “Jha is a master storyteller and has always found issues which are important for the social growth of the nation. This unique story will wrench your heart and move you deeply,” he says in a statement.
Priyanka Bose, who plays Hussain’s wife in the film, agrees and says the film is not preachy. “It shows resilience and disparity between the privileged and underprivileged as far as education is concerned. This can be filled. I think the new education policy will help,” she says, adding that since the film is released digitally, it will not get ‘lost’ in the sea of big releases. “The digital platform is a boon, but we do miss the ‘first-day-first- show’ feeling,” she smiles.
Jha, who himself passed out of an Army school, is hopeful that the new education policy would be implemented well and help underprivileged students realise their potential. “It seems a well-intentioned policy—be it strengthening the percentage of school-going children, improving our teachers’ training and focussing on development of children, etc...” he says.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Jha reveals that he is working on a web series and also his next feature. Talking of the future, Bose is looking forward to The Wheel of Time, a fantasy series that will probably release next year. Hussain seems to be the busiest. The actor is preparing to take off for Scotland for the shoot of a film, besides working on a theatre piece around the Bhagavad Gita, where he plays both Krishna and Arjun. In the offing is the October release of Star Trek: Discovery, a web series that’s the seventh chapter in the Star Trek franchise.