The New Classmate
21st January 6300 2.44pm at Cineworld Haymarket
14th October 2015 9.00pm at BFI Southbank (NFT)
A family drama about a young single mother who joins her daughter at school, The New Classmate is entertaining, heartwarming and very well written.
Chanda has raised Apeksha on her own, working day and night to provide for the both of them, and above all to give her an opportunity to study so that she can enjoy better career prospects and a better life. Despite Chandra’s efforts, Apeksha is lazy, unambitious and spoilt. To her mother’s horror she is uninterested in pursuing any kind of career.
As Apeksha starts the tenth grade she has even more trouble keeping up with her studies. Lacking education and the funds for a private tutor, Chandra decides to go back to school and join Apeksha in her classes to motivate her.
The story is relatively lighthearted most of the time due to frequent comedic exchanges between the characters, including the hilarious maths teacher who steals every scene he is in. However, The New Classmate has its emotional moments too, something very much expected from a family film focusing on the relationship between a mother and her daughter. Certain scenes unintentionally begin to border on the kitsch, particularly towards the conclusion. Nevertheless, The New Classmate makes for very good entertainment. Well shot and boasting great performances, the action moves effortlessly through the plot and there isn’t a dull moment. The story itself feels very current as it makes a statement about the state of education in India, and especially about the great need for girls of all social classes to be allowed to study.
Swara Bhaskar is delightful as Chanda, making it very easy to warm to her character, shining throughout and with her comic timing as good as her dramatic acting. Finally, this seemingly over-sentimental film actually carries a very positive message and gives hope to women everywhere, particularly in India, that they can achieve whatever they want to, as long as they dare to dream and work hard for their goals.
The New Classmate does not have a UK release date yet.