Language : Tamil. Cast : Samuthrakani, Thambi Ramiah, Namo Narayana, Vinodhini.
Directed By : Samuthrakani.
Written By : Samuthrakani.
Music By : Illayaraja.
Release : July 2016.
Throughout the world, India is known to have the best schools system. It’s the same country to have the worst university education. That’s quite a startling contradiction which leads to the fact that the country has a severe shortage of skilled and quality workforce even when primary education is free and mandatory. So what happens in between to the thousands of kids, considering they are products of highly prestigious schools?
Every kid while growing up has a bright spark in his eyes and a belief that he can change this world, but how well does he cope up with everything when life happens, well that’s when the role of a father plays its importance. Appa is one such movie which tries to question the mindset about the education system while at the same time brings out the beautiful blossoming of a kid’s life from two points of view i.e. from a supportive father and ‘A typical Indian father’.
The movie starts of with the news of a new life in three different homes, how each one reacts to them gives us a clear picture about how the story arc is constructed. A typical Indian mentality father who plots the entire life of the kid according to his whims and fancies, while the other lets the child decide his life, according to the child’s whims and fancies, then there is the third father, who is introduced later, telling us that its better to neither go up nor go down and its better to live a nondescript life than let the world know of your existence. The son of the supportive father grows on to take his own decisions, learn from his mistakes and grows on to become a mature individual. The second one grows on to become a parrot, echoing his fathers thoughts and never speaks of what he feels. While the third doesn’t grow at all, both literally and metaphorically. In the end, the outcome of each child affects the parents more than the children themselves, this implies
for all the three types of parents.
Samuthrakani has written the movie keeping the mass audience in mind, this is clearly visible in how loosely the screenplay is built with a number of loopholes and flaws. Nonetheless I would never like to take away the credit from him for writing a beautifully woven story about how a father can shape up the life of a kid and the long-lasting impact he has on a kids life. The reason that I am critical about the screenplay is that life is never that easy, even with a supportive father. Many major aspects of the growing up years have been left out, agreed the mass audience wouldn’t like it, but Samuthrakani is the director I would always vouch for as a director who absolutely does not deal with the mass audience, but rather question their thoughts and intents about reel and real. Although we can see glimpses of this when he questions the hospital system and refuses to take his wife to the doctor when she is in labor, it is just restricted to a few scenes.
The moral of the story is the fact that people shouldn’t be critical about the education system blindly, when in reality it is the Indian mentality towards the education system which is the actual culprit. There is in fact nothing wrong with the curriculum or the system or there is nothing wrong with a kid studying and working hard to achieve his goal, but the puzzling fact is the mindset of the parents and the so-called relatives where, according to them, any child who does not study well or does not attain the coveted 99%, the child is worthless and better off living in their sympathy. Once we step out of this mentality, we get to understand the education system better and get to know the correct difference between an educated person and a literate person.
One subplot of the movie which I find rather surprising is the breaking of the Guinness Record. I find it really amusing, because breaking a record is definitely, and I repeat definitely, not that easy. I could never see him trying or working hard to achieve his dream. Agreed talented people need not have to struggle, but i’m very sure they would work hard and relentlessly pursue their dream, even when they fail in their initial attempts. That way they could’ve shown the sweat behind the dream and get people to be inspired by his story.
Considering this as a movie which questions the education system, it has in many aspects, failed to provide an accurate depiction of the ground reality. Keeping in mind the theme, another movie having a similar take on the education system, ‘Dhoni‘, gives you a better and a more realistic viewpoint while it does answer the actual questions of the system, which is exactly where Appa fails and leaves unlikely question marks in the minds of the audience.
With the world being more connected than ever and the exposure we get from it has given people a more open-minded approach, the impact of which is clearly visible with the number of parents showing greater inclination towards the acceptance of a child’s talent rather than on criticizing it. Although ‘Appa’ fails to show this, it has, to some extent, shown that although education is important, it is not the end of the world.
1. A casual movie that questions the parents role in a child’s life.
2. Written in a way where the people would like to implement at least some aspects if not everything.
1. The movie has been written considering the mass audience in mind.
2. The greatly used and abused concept of commercial aspects of the education system have been thankfully left out.