The School Bag
Starring: Rasika Duggal, Sartaaj RK
Directed by: Dheeraj Jindal
Rating: *** ½(3 and a half stars)
A little boy Farooq is about to turn 7.He wants a new school bag for his birthday.His mother pretends she won’t get his gift because…well, she wouldn’t.So there.
The spirit of banter and bonhomie between mother and son scampers through this heartwarming and finally heartbreaking little nugget. The School Bag builds a disarming two-member Utopia . The humble domestic scenario comes alive with the pampered child’s charming whining. He wants that new school bag and if he doesn’t get it he will tell his (absentee) father….he won’t go to school the next day…he won’t…He locks himself in. He sulks during Namaaz. But he is not aspoilt child.
It’s all for fun. And the next day the much coveted school bag materializes. The mother-son warmth just hits you so hard because of the two performances. Director Dheeraj Jindal holds the two performances together in a clasp of effervescence . Rasika Duggalbrings to the screen the profound love of a mother who wants her son to be happy .She hides a sorrow deep under those smiling eyes. The grief jumps to the surface at the end.
But it’s the child actor who plays the son Farooq who steals your heart and locks it away in a place where no cynicism can reach.LittleSartaaj RK is a natural-born actor. He inhabits the son’s world with a proprietorial confidence. So strong is his screen presence that the tragic end leaves us shattered beyond the realm of the film.
Without giving away the plot, let’s just say this little film with a big heart recreates events that happened in Peshawar a few years ago when terrorists mowed down hundreds of school children.
The schoolbag has its own story to tell.
How do they do these things to innocent children? This is the question that will haunt you for a very long time at the end of this short film with a very long shelf life.In 15 minutes it says more about the monstrous forces that smother innocence than all the speeches diatribes and rants of news anchors put together.
I suggest Arnab Goswami watch The School Bag to know how a political issue can be personalized without resorting to ranting hysteria.