The Rough Side of the System
With the hope to stir the thought process of Indian parents, students and school managements, Akash Educational Services made the film Rough Book. The movie that has a relatively new cast, besides the television actor Ram Kapoor and internationally-acclaimed actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, has been recieved well in the national and international circles - named the best film at Houston Indian Film Festival and a few other festivals.
The producer of the film Aakash Chaudhry, the founder of Akash Educational Services tells us that having been in the business of education and after interacting with parents and students, he decided that something needs to be done
"The way we are moving forward, it is more of a herd mentality. You tend to put your child in a school where everyone else is going without even understanding if the school is good enough for your child. It is not important where you put your child. We have tried to address these issues in Rough Book",says Akash.
The film revolves around issues which a school management, school teachers and students face in different competitive scenarios and how they can cope with it. "It has been shot in Bombay and Pune and covers aspects like excessive pressure on students, the role of a teacher in mitigating ways to deal with these subjects. The pressure of tuitions and coaching centres, the pressure that comes from the management to complete the syllabus without caring about what students are learning or understanding content," are some of the issues the education system is plagued with. And Rough Book along with highlighting these issues also talks about the plausible solutions that can alter these situations.
"We are not saying that it is a magic pill. It is a slow process and that is what we have tried to showcase," explains Aakash. The movie also addresses a few other issues like the pressure on children from parents, and how technology today may replace teachers in the classroom.
"Even if students are able to communicate what they want, parents are not in most cases convinced and they want to put their children through the aspiration that they could not fulfill themselves," points out Aakash. This leads to children opting for other sources. "A lot of children ask me why they need to cram and memorise things when everything is available at the click of a button. The movie has also tried to bridge that gap - regarding the need for an institution or an educator," he elaborates.
This message, Aakash believes could not be more effective than through the most powerful medium - cinema.
"We could have conducted a seminar. But this is more likely to make people think, than a boring talk," he quips. He also clarifies that the reason behind casting fresh faces is to make an impact with the story. "Big stars make an impact at the box office. We wanted our story to be the hero," he admits. The script was penned by Sanjay Chauhan, an award-winning script writer whose latest movies include Paan Singh Tomar and I am Kalam.
The educator-turned-producer feels encouraged with the response the film has received and is already scouting for issues that need to be addressed next.