Genre: Drama

Director: Pandiaraj

Cast: Surya Sivakumar, Amala Paul, Karthik Kumar & Bindhu Madhavi

Let me begin by saying that Pasanga 2 is no Taare Zameen Par. The premise of both movies is the same, with the intention of highlighting problems that special needs children face and how these kids are severely misunderstood. The difference between both films is that while Taare Zameen Par had great cinematic appeal, Pasanga 2 alternated between a film and a documentary.

The Kids

The movie begins with the introduction of two kids, Kavin and Nayana, who are incredibly mischievous. They repeatedly manage to grate on the nerves of their teachers, parents and neighbours. The educational institutions and parents alike are unable to zero in on the problem and are left severely frustrated. The last straw comes when both children are kicked out of their respective schools.

The child actors who played the roles of the pair of kids were simply brilliant. Throughout the span of the movie, you cannot help but empathise as well as sympathise with them. Kudos to the director for bringing such fresh, budding talent to light!

The Parents

“After the desperate parents send their daughter (Nayana) to a boarding school (because they were attempting to curb her bad behavior), they come to visit her. The child cries to her mother and pitifully laments about how lonely and sad she feels in that place. She apologizes to her mother and promises to behave, pleading with them to take her home. The mother (Bindhu Madhavi) tearfully leaves her behind and in the next scene her father (Karthik Kumar) says “There has been so much of change in her in the past one week. If we leave her here for a year, she will be completely “fixed”. ” 

This was my favourite scene throughout the entire movie. The reaction of Nayana’s father took me completely by surprise. He had been silently observing the entire episode of his daughter crying to her mother. For a moment, it looked as though he was going to cave in and ask her to come home. Instead, he somehow managed to suppress his fatherly instincts and stoically declared that their decision had been made in her best interest.

This is the fate of most parents today. They have become slaves to the education system and societal expectations. They are constantly torn between gifting this society a ‘perfect’ child who would be accepted by all and unconditionally accepting their child by paying no attention to society’s perceptions.

Director Pandiaraj beautifully captures this dilemma which both sets of parents face. There is no doubt that these parents love their children but for some reason the need for their child to be normal and successful overpowers their love, resulting in them going into the “tough love” mode.

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Surya & Amala Paul

I could not help but wonder if Surya and Amala Paul were merely added to the cast to add some star power to the film. The duo play the roles of parents to two young children in the film. Surya essays the part of a child psychiatrist while Amala plays an indulging (over indulging sometimes) teacher. They are a picture perfect family, which I am not sure if can be replicated in the real world. They are assigned extended cameos in the movie and are constantly attempting to challenge the archaic beliefs and mindsets that are plaguing the education system as well as parenting techniques.

For The Teacher In Me

Director Pandiaraj had the right idea in hand. He attempted to make a movie that would force his audience to think critically about one of the cornerstones of society today – the education system. There were occasions during which the kids innocently raised poignant questions that went straight to the heart. Sadly, those moments were far and few. For the most part, it appeared that he was ranting about the flaws in the education system and the lifestyle that comes with urban parenting.

I wish he had have delved deeper into the issue of ADHD which was plaguing the children. He could have discussed how many educators still refuse to believe that ADHD is real and believe that it is merely an excuse for bad behaviour.

The other exasperating issue in the film was the use of alternate teaching methods by Amala Paul, which were a tad too idealistic and would probably work best in a setting which does not require students to eventually sit for a written examination. In a way, director Pandiaraj appeared to be hinting that the solutions to these problems were easy and that it is the stubbornness of the educators that is preventing these solutions from being put into place. Is it really all that simple though?

Surya also delivers lengthy dialogues, which border on being preachy, leaving you to wonder if everything he claims is easier said than done. Pasanga 2 is worth a watch but it might leave you with more questions than answers.

Rating: 6 / 10

Written by Hemma

Hemma is a travel enthusiast who is greatly fascinated by language and culture. Linguistics and cultural anthropology deeply interest her. She constantly seeks to comprehend and make sense of the world through these two mechanisms. An eternal optimist, she sometimes lives in imaginary little bubbles, each one a different shade of purple. On good days, she wants to change the world, on better days, she dreams of living in an igloo, curled up next to a golden retriever with a Roald Dahl novel.

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