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Trivia / Goofs
Times of India
After a traumatic break up with her husband, Santoshi joins a new school. The physics teacher is given the weakest class to coach. It is an insurmountable task to make her students focus on studies. Will her guidance help them?
If you've watched Sidney Poitier's 1967 classic To Sir, With Love, you'll know from a distance what Anant Mahadevan's Rough Book is all about. A sincere teacher and a class full of incorrigible students (who eventually have a change of heart), makes for a noble film but has nothing novel to say.
Anant and his co-writer Sanjay Chauhan waste too much energy in sketching the myriad shades of the protagonist (Santoshi played by Tannishtha Chatterjee). She is everything you expect her to be - a mix of 3 Idiots' Ranchoddas Chanchad with a wee bit o' Maria from The Sound of Music. Unwaveringly idealistic, fiercely honest and unafraid of authority, she brings a new lease of life in her students. The problem here is the writing which is sincere, but banal. Tannishtha's earnest performance fails to make her caricaturish role convincing.
The narrative is subtle but doesn't focus much on the teacher-student camaraderie, which is pivotal to such a story. Neither does Anant delve deeper into Suhail's (a rich brat whose father is a top notch lawyer) journey from reckless to studious. The transformation happens abruptly sans a prelude, which is not impactful enough.
The story touches upon a few necessary themes - from teacher poaching to the excessive emphasis on coaching over regular classes - but the ideas don't find a strong voice in the movie. Their mission of portraying education as a calling and not a money-minting business gets lost in the film's half-baked execution.
Even as you lose your heart to Rough Book's intention, you can't buy the amateurish story. The dialogues are dated, the story is predictable (despite a momentary surprise towards the end) and the climax is sloppily done. The performances are charming (be it Amaan Khan, Joy Sengupta, Kaizaad Kotwal or Suhasini Mulay) but the film is forgettable.
'Rough Book' marks the acting debut of top Indian-American heart surgeon Dr. Mukesh Hariawala, who has played a special role.
In March 2015, 'Rough Book' won the Best Feature Film Award in Houston, US at the Indian Film festival.