Ubuntu means “I am what I am because of who we are” which is guided in terms of “humanity”. Actor Pushkar Shrotri makes an interesting directorial debut with a rural backdrop, right to education. I recently read about a train in Japan which was about to close due to low passengers but when the authorities got to know that a girl was commuting to school in it, they decided to run the train for her beneficial future.
Ubuntu is a story set in Dhobalewadi, a village where the school due to low attendance is about to close. The teacher (Sarang Sathye) is enthusiastic and has a zest in teaching uniquely as well as a few students who imbibe are now saving the school. The village people and the authorities are also against the school, prominently the science experiments carried out. In a particular scene, students put forward a mathematical riddle in front of few veteran villagers who are clueless. And yes, they are clueless about the well-being future of their children. Instead of ending as a child labor, the students struggle to prevent the school from shutting.
The film preaches in a good way but to the student and the parent within us making us aware of “Right to Education”. The first half is well-established and executed but the problem lies in the second half. The second half gets tedious, preachy, monotonous and dragged; nevertheless for a good cinematic and a thoughtful end. Considering this as a directorial debut, the direction is amateur and the good initiative seems to be wandering lonely. Though the film is closer to reality and yes, that’s what the state of Education is in rural areas. In a scene, the students point out to a radio broadcaster that PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat (Voice of Mind) is allowed while the students’ Mann Ki Baat is restricted by norms.
The amateurish feel throughout the film made me distant from the narrative. Couldn’t help but notice that the effect of emotions was emphasized on background score by Narendra Bhide and not by scenes to a certain extent. The most enriching aspect is the Cinematography by Suman Saahu, the vividness of village and noisy unstable city life is captured aesthetically. The songs by Kaushal Inamdar were damn melodious, the soothing Prayer and the quirky Title song walked with him till home.
Sarang Sathye is phenomenal as the School Teacher, sincere and admiring in his efforts. Tight hug! All the kids are amazing especially Bhagyashree Shankpal and Kanha Bhave. Shashank Shende gives a decent support but the rest of supporting cast is problematic, haywire casting.
Overall, a film which could have been an enthralling cinematic right towards “humanity” is led down by its dragged and melodramatic scenes. Still, this is an appreciable attempt towards social-political-cultural factors. Towards the end, a scene featuring Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution gives goose bumps and sums up the film “fundamentally”.
Release: 15 September, 2017
Director: Pushkar Shrotri
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