Movie Review | Music School: A musical with subtle social message

May 12, 2023
'Music School' is superbly narrated through music, and relatable situations and characters. It is a must-watch, especially for family viewing.

‘Music School’ is a slice of life drama revolving around a theatre teacher and music teacher, trying to put together a stage musical based on ‘The Sound of Music’, helmed by former IAS officer and National Award-winning filmmaker Papa Rao Biyyala, marking his full-length feature directorial debut.

The movie opens with a theatre teacher struggling to make his presence count, while other streams take up all the space, students and credit.

Painting, music, theatre, poetry, and such soulful and nourishing creative streams are often sidelined as there is unprecedented academic pressure on students to score good grades, and find a place in reputed professional colleges. But nourishment of the soul is most important; there is nothing worse than the broken spirit of a child.

Shriya Saran (Maria), a music teacher from Goa, joins the school, only to face the same disdain and struggle that Sharman Joshi’s character (drama teacher Manoj) has to contend with.

Manoj helps Maria find accommodation in his apartment building. Further, Manoj, who is the single father of a girl, helps Maria start her music school in the building. And eventually the duo decides to stage ‘The Sound of Music‘ with their students.

Every student in the music school has a story. One is so much under pressure by his parents and coaching institute that he loses his mind. Another has to climb down from a window in order to attend the class. One girl is the daughter of a commissioner, who hates the idea of a music school.

Manoj and Maria decide to take the students on a trip to Goa for a three-week workshop to prepare for the musical. There, everyone is greeted by Maria’s parents, who are an inter-racial couple. During this visit, two of their students fall in love and decide to run away. One happens to be the daughter of the commissioner, who is hell-bent on getting her daughter back and destroying the stage show. What happens next is heart-warming and inspiring musical entertainer.

‘Music School’ focuses on ‘Theatre and Drama’ in schools as important art subjects for children. The narrative of the film doesn’t deviate from its core, which is beautiful. The film’s music is timeless and grows on you. It is beautifully infused into the storyline.

Veteran composer Ilaiyaraaja has composed eight songs, plus the makers have recreated three iconic numbers from ‘The Sound of Music‘, namely ‘Do-re-mi’, ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ and ‘So Long, Farewell’.

Sharman Joshi and Shirya Saran are perfect choices for their roles, their easy-going and mellow performances help the audience understand the idea behind this movie.

Veteran character actor Prakash Raj, Leela Samson and Benjamin Gilani, among others, have delivered seasoned performance expected of them.

Singer Shaan is the surprise package in the film, not only is he singing and making his acting debut, but he is good too.

Parents aren’t against theate music, but they want their children to take them up as hobbies, not as career options. The movie highlights the pressure applied by school systems and parents on children to continue with endless hours of studies, leaving no time for soul-nourishing activities, such as art, music and sports.

‘Music School’ is superbly narrated through music, and relatable situations and characters. It is a must-watch, especially for family viewing.

Movie: Music School
Director: Papa Rao Biyyala
Music: Ilaiyaraaja
Cast: Shriya Saran, Sharman Joshi, Leela Samson, Benjamin Gilani, Gracy Goswami, Shaan, Prakash Raj, Ozu Barua, Suhasini Mulay, Mona Ambegaonkar, Bugs Bhargava Krishna, Siddhiksha, Thanmai Bolt, Aripirala Satyaprasad, Vinay Varma, Olivia Charan, Srikanth Iyengar, G Rohan Roy and Mangala Bhatt.
Duration: 125 Minutes

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