Typically keep my movie opinions to myself, but this movie really brought about a lot of opinions (and tears) that I deemed worthy of sharing on a public blog. I really don’t know if Tamilians will come across this post, but then again, I feel that the issue that was brought into the limelight goes for all parents – no matter what background they come from. I watched this movie over winter break which came with no set plans for the first half, which automatically translates into catching up on movies in my household. Hey, no complaints though; I genuinely enjoy watching movies with my family.
The movie we all decided to watch yesterday (legally, of course) was Pasanga 2 – a brilliant story line directed by Pandiraj. Having been raised in a very conservative style, I really got into this movie. The basic plot, without any spoilers, revolves around two kids with ADHD but with parents who don’t understand their situation and just want their kids to conform to the Indian education expectations. You know – the typical ‘first rank,’ obedient child, higher tuition correlates to best education, blah blah blah. The parents are caring towards the children but of course, when everything they try (from spending hours tutoring them for their midterms to taking their kids to different doctors) fails, they become furious and decide to leave them at the unemotional, jail-like ‘hostels.’
Then come Surya and Amala Paul – a ‘perfect’ couple who have two kids of their own. This family is truly that ideal life I want to lead in the future. Seriously, the chillest family ever. They don’t beat their kids (rare for Indian parents, I tell you), love each other unconditionally, live with their parents, and basically encourage a healthy, positive, and lively atmosphere. When introduced to the ADHD kids, these two really understood the kids for who they are, encouraged their hyperactive minds, and ultimately brought in sunshine into their lives. Yeah, some scenes took me back to Taare Zameer Par, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. As an autism awareness enthusiast, my love for children plays a huge role in enjoying this movie.
The movie not just addressed parent’s huge expectations, but also the biased education system (comparison between the government and private schools), the competition to be the best in literally everything, and lack of imagination and focus on rote memorization. Teaching is my family’s primary occupation (my mom’s older sisters and grandparents after their retirement from other occupations on both sides). Of course, for some reason that stopped in my generation; the move to the city and emergence of IT shifted the family’s focus to technology and engineering. That’s a completely different story to be discussed later. The point of that was to say I love and enjoy teaching, so I’m always tempted to go with my aunts who still live in the town to their respective rural government schools. They allow for freedom of individual thoughts and imagination, a huge contrast to the private school I attended in Chennai when I was young and before I moved to good ol’ America. My passion for and interest in trying out teaching got me a part-time job at a popular math tuition center during high school to tutor children of all ages (even those older than me). I had so much freedom to maneuver around and understand each kid’s thinking process. Experiences like this got me more passionate to write about this beautiful film with a truly touching story.
To show the current education status and to stop myself from revealing the story too much, I am going to end with this clever quote from the movie: “Back then, the government owned the schools, and wine shops were privately owned. But now, government seems to own the wine shops, and the schools are being privately controlled.” Think about it. It makes sense. Only if we can change this all around in India and equalize educational opportunities for all kids – not just in India, but here in the United States too.