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Review Hindi

Jaadoo review: A comment on regimented learning and the power of imagination

Release Date: 19 Jan 2021 / 38min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

The film will be premiered in India at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. 

Directed by Shoorveer Tyagi, the short film Jaadoo (The Magic) explores the ways in which children's sense of wonder and imagination get steadily eroded through regimented learning. 

Two schoolgirls, Tvisha and Bhakti, study in a village school. They strike an unlikely friendship as they are both punished and thrown out of their classroom by their teacher every day, for some reason or the other. The younger of the two, Tvisha, is bright, curious and chirpy, while Bhakti is reserved and takes time to open up. Fated to meet outside their classroom every day, they become friends. 

Bhakti leads Tvisha to a lake in the forest with seemingly mystical properties and the two start wishing for their situation to improve. Largely disinterested in learning at school, the two girls wish to pursue their creative interests. One wishes to be an artist and the other, a poet. They meet an old man along the way who makes them think about their creative pursuits.

The film is a comment on the education system in India, which pays more importance to rules rather than trying to expand children’s minds with knowledge. It looks at the seemingly normalised manner in which teachers routinely abuse and hit schoolchildren. Bhakti’s inventive poem describes the abuse of the children at the hands of the teacher every day and Tvisha narrates fantastical stories about events in her class, making us think about ways in which art enables us to transform something painful into a thing of beauty.

The film’s beauty lies in its simplicity. The cinematography captures the milieu, while the songs by the old man provide an escape from the harsh reality of their lives. Tvisha's crackling energy is a perfect foil to the more contemplative character of Bhakti. There are small details in the narrative that allow us to become embedded in the alternate world created by the trio. The pace of the film lags in places but manages to hold one’s interest. 

Produced under the Red Thin Line Production banner, Jaadoo was shot in a village near Thane near Mumbai. The film has been screened at several festivals across the world. It won the Best Asian Short Film and Best Cinematography Award at the Asian Cinematography Awards 2020, among other awards. The film will be premiered in India at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

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