Yes I Am Student review: A slow-paced film that raises crucial issues

Release Date: 22 Oct 2021

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Sidhu Moosewala’s film urges youngsters to follow the path of the straight and the narrow and fight all odds.

Directed by Tarnvir Singh Jagpal, Yes I Am Student stars Punjabi singer and actor Sidhu Moosewala, Mandy Takhar, Malkiat Rauni, Seema Kaushal and Jaggi Singh. Although this film was supposed to mark Moosewala’s cinematic debut film, Moosa Jatt (2021) was released earlier.

Yes I Am Student depicts the travails of Jass Gill (Moosewala) who wants to go to Canada and explore possibilities for his future. The song at the beginning, 'Saab' creates the context of hardship and struggles that life in the village holds for youth in Punjab. His parents have limited means and decide to endure hardships to send their son to study abroad. However, things aren’t so rosy in Canada for Jass either and he faces the brunt of a larger backlash against international students in the country.

Despite all the attractions that could lead him astray in a foreign land and the challenges ahead of him, Jass struggles to keep a good head on his shoulders and starts working hard to make something of himself. He dreams of building a student city to address the discrimination against students and provide housing facilities for them.

The film reflects the harsh reality of Punjab where families mortgage their land to send their children abroad for studies and work in the hope of making their future. Faced with scanty employment opportunities, the youth have no real choices in the state. In a foreign land, they often face discrimination and harassment. Many of the concerns raised in the film are genuine and rooted in reality, and the film is sympathetic to the plight of students. However, the issues are overdramatized and easy solutions are offered.

The screenplay is weak in parts and montages are added in places just to make a point without a larger connection with the plot. One feels like the writer tried to cram in too many concerns with little regard for larger cohesiveness. The pace is slow and the over-eager use of slow-motion is tiresome. Moosewala’s acting is just about passable and needs to be more expressive. Takhar does much better in comparison but has little to do overall. The music by the Kid and Intense presents some melodious numbers.

Despite its shortcomings, Yes I Am Student has its heart in the right place and draws attention to an oft-neglected yet crucial issue. It's also nice to see Moosewala's film actively shunning alcohol and drug usage, drawing awareness about the social evil and sending a positive message to viewers.