The right ingredients, the wrong proportions end up creating an absurd product
Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Gauahar Khan, Pawan Malhotra, Iram Badar Khan, Shivaani Singh, Kumar Saurabh and together.
Creator: Syed Ahmad Afzal.
Director: Syed Ahmad Afzal.
Broadcast on: MX player.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Duration: 9 episodes of about 50 minutes each.
Shiksha Mandal Review: What It Is About:
In a lawless land in the heart of India stands a city that manufactures doctors by the might of their weapons and their menacing glory. A scam takes place in broad daylight and no one dares to find it. A young girl dares one day and all hell breaks loose. His brother Aditya (Gulshan) and STF officer Anuradha (Gauahar) meet at the center and decide to end the scam and save the day.
Shiksha Mandal Review: What Works:
There is a sudden focus on the Indian education system in the visual content creation space and several aspects of it make it content delivery. Kota Factory, the motion launcher, focused on the inner catharsis of literal machinery, and Crash Course set the camera to a wide angle to show you the monsters. Enter another story, based on real incidents, Shiksha Mandal, a show that takes the education system in India one step ahead and in a brutal way. But does it pay?
Written and directed by Syed Ahmad Afzal, although they picked the wrong time to release their half-baked product, the merits of it cannot be ignored. Syed as a filmmaker is trying to create a show somewhere between the universe that represents the darkness of Mirzapur and characters straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. There’s a mobster with a speech impediment, he’s comical but also awful. He kills people after making one joke, then makes another to make the killing even scarier. He is interesting.
Nanhe is therefore played by an incredible Kumar Saurabh. A man who is always made fun of for his height. But the oppression leads to a day when he goes mad like Arthur Fleck and decides to do himself justice by killing the man who hurt him in the first place. In the backdrop is the vicious scam and a larger web of the education system. The evils that threaten and wreak havoc and how they only endanger lives. There is a man who dreams of opening a university for the needy, but for that he resorts to crime and crime of the worst kind.
On paper, they are interesting characters. Even STF Anuradha, she struggles with her personal life where she divorces but has to be on the ground where she has to leave behind all her personal baggage. There is no reason why the actors refuse to play these roles (except Gulshan). So we can’t blame them for not looking at the script from a broader angle.
Shiksha Mandal Review: Star Performance:
Gauahar Khan and Pawan Malhotra are technically the winners among the lead cast. Khan manages to trick us into believing that the STF officer loses her vanity and keeps the right amount with her. She is definitely growing as an actress and I am here to witness it. Pawan has the power to make any character beautiful. Whether it’s a father who fights to save his family in Tabbar, or a gangster who considers himself “the good man”. The creators never explore it enough, but the actor plays his role with total dedication.
Gulshan Devaiah’s Aditya is one of the loosest tracks of recent times. His one-line memoir is the scream, sulk, or scream in every scene he has. As the writers try to add layers to his character, not even one lands or works well for us to develop a feeling for him. It’s a role that shouldn’t be impressive even on paper. And compared to all the other roles, including her sister Vidya played by Imam Badar Khan, Aditya looks like an abandoned role coming to life as a crisis manager.
Shiksha Mandal Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The wide angle is where it all goes wrong. Syed trying to be Anurag Kashyap and Tarantino together ends up becoming nothing. Characters that are super interesting separately, never sit well together. They all feel like disjointed pieces of different puzzles put in one bag. Because in the middle of all this there is also a gay and incredibly drawn gangster, but their significance for the story is just a line and nothing more.
Also, just how much melodrama is too much melodrama is what the series continually struggles to grasp. In the same dilemma, the right things are used at the wrong time and you no longer know whether to laugh or worry. For example, in one intense sequence, they introduce the speech-impaired gangster mentioned above. Although it’s supposed to be a grimy scene, it ends up being nothing.
Spoiler alert! The show ends at such a bizarre point that it only serves a curious angle. It ends so abruptly that you never know if it ended if there was already a climax planned or if the creators just forgot to give us the final episode. I’m definitely not excited for the next season, if there is, blame the sensibilities of the creators for shaping the laziest climax.
Shiksha Mandal Review: Final Words:
Shiksha Mandal has the ingredients to put on a good show, but the chef ends up adding the wrong proportions. If there is a season 2, smell the tea and improve it.
Must Read: Duranga Review: Gulshan Devaiah & Drashti Dhami’s Flower Of Evil Remake Is A Fast Release With Added Drama