All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, a proverb that we all have grown up listening to, has also somewhere impacted us so much so that movies and shows based on this core element hit home. Papa Rao Biyyala’s Music School is built on the same premise and will make you travel back to your childhood days with a musical note.
Music School talks about the pressure put by schools and parents on kids to focus on academics and not on extracurricular activities like art, music or sports. However, the film doesn’t hold you long enough, as the elongated musical numbers which arrive abruptly, despite being situational make it a tedious watch.
The first half of the film is well-paced and balanced in quickly establishing the plot of the story. It opens with a school principal lecturing the students about focusing on their studies and not on the arts. That’s when you bump into Manoj (Sharman Joshi) who is a drama teacher in the school. Through a detailed musical number, the story then goes forward in explaining how there are hardly any kids who take up extracurricular activities. That’s when Maria (Shriya Sharan) walks in, takes the help of Manoj and sets up the Music School. Things look interesting and nostalgic too, when the kids walk in wanting to have a hobby, while their parents fret, looking for ways to avoid their distraction. This dilemma makes the movie both intriguing and nostalgic.
However, the second half of the story, makes you dread. While it promises predictability, it comes with a bunch of twists and turns, which may seem unnecessary. Despite the film having a social message and creating awareness among its viewers, the film lacks the motivational or impactful value of its talking point. The 2 hour 5 minute run time could have been shortened.
Speaking of Sharman and Shriya’s on-screen presence, they have a comforting chemistry. They light up every frame. They balance each other well and still perform brilliantly individually too. You’d wanna root for them till the end of the film. Shaan’s performance stands out too. He adds the much-needed breeze to the film, with his aura along with his voice. Special mention to the veteran stars Prakash Raj and Leela Samson who bring in the right sense of credibility with their parts.
The kids do a spectacular job. This bunch is no less than the groups you’ve seen in Stanley Ka Dabba and Chillar Party. They come from all age groups and similar backgrounds, thus making you relate and resonate with their thought processes. Their angst of wanting to do something creative, yet bound by their parent’s expectations, may resonate with many young people.
As a first-time feature film director, Papa Rao Biyyala picked out a very relevant subject to make a film on. Another notable exception is the plot being based out of Hyderabad. The story looked very relevant to its roots. Better writing and screenplay, barring the musical notes, would have made wonders for the film.
Music School is a surprisingly fresh film. It has family-friendly written all over it. It’s a one-time watch and maybe a pass for the theatres. If you are into musicals, this may be a good add-on to your list, however, don’t expect much from it.
All in all, Music School delivers a social message on the importance of extracurricular activities in children’s lives. Given the fact that it’s a musical, with the predictable second half, it may make it a tedious watch. It’s a movie that takes you back to your childhood and reminds you of the importance of pursuing your passions, regardless of societal expectations.