Film Review: Dasvi (Class 10 School Exam)

Film Review: Dasvi (Class 10 School Exam)

Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Nimrat Kaur, Yami Gautam, Chittaranjan Tripathy, Arun Kushwah

Director: Tushar Jalota

Abhishek Bachchan starrer 'Dasvi' on Netflix promises some light-hearted fun, a welcome change amid the high-velocity Bollywood releases of late.

The film is about a corrupt chief minister of a fictional state Harit Pradesh, Ganga Ram Chaudhary (Bachchan), who is sent to jail for an educational scam. To retain political power within the family, he entrusts the CM’s post to his seemingly docile wife Bimla Devi (Kaur).

Although initially reluctant, Bimla soon develops a taste for the new-found power and starts concocting strategies to keep her husband in jail forever. Meanwhile, an uneducated Ganga Ram Chowdhury attempts to avoid jail chores by pretending to prepare for the Class 10 board exams, or ‘Dasvi’, while in prison. However, the strict and lawful jailor Jyoti Deswal (Gautam) and history book stories of Indian freedom fighters inspire Ganga Ram truly enough to take the vow of never becoming a CM again unless he's ‘Dasvi’ pass.

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Ganga Ram now needs to pass both these tests – the board exam inside the jail to become a better human being, and outside an electoral contest with his wife.

Brilliant acting by Bachchan junior and, in fact, by all the cast, makes the film watchable till the end. Several comic sequences, witty dialogues, an entertaining dance number, and some inspiring songs help the plot along.

However, the premise on which a film's storyline is built should be crystal clear right from the beginning, and the plot should then stay that course. This is the principle on which some highly unbelievable fiction triumphs at the box-office. Failing to adhere to this formula makes for a confusing plotline and equally confusing audience, as in the case of this film.

While Bachchan attempts to inspire one and all to take up studying, “not for employment but to become a better human being”, one is left wondering whether the film ends up condoning political corruption. Is it a satire or parody; what is it exactly?

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Several other questions that pop into one's mind while watching the film are whether civil service officers should or not be treated in a derogatory way, as has been depicted – this is an issue that remains unresolved until the end.

Can a person who has no knowledge of the alphabet, so much so that he signs his name with sticks and a dot, prepare for a board-level exam and clear it within months?

Even if we overlook some of the many improbabilities and incoherence of the plot, switching our rational minds off for some time like we usually do while watching Bollywood masala movies, one thing that stands out is that none of the prisoners wear designated prison outfits! Bachchan, for one, goes over the top with various shades of pastel linen shirts in each scene while preparing and appearing for the exam.

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Having said all that, kudos to Nimrat Kaur for holding her character from start to finish quite realistically. Yami Gautam is fantastic once again in her choice of character and her subtle acting prowess.

Bachchan is an exceptionally talented actor with a superb good look, even surpassing his father at times, in my humble opinion. But to become a superstar, stars in the sky need to be better aligned for him.

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