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Miss Nandini review: Priyanka Upendra’s film may just be the small-budget version of Kranti

The Gurudatta directorial is about saving Kannada-medium government schools, which is also the theme of the upcoming Darshan film

2.5/5rating
Miss Nandini review: Priyanka Upendra’s film may just be the small-budget version of Kranti
Priyanka Upendra in a still from the film
  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 01.09 PM, Jan 06, 2023

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Story: A local Kannada-medium government school is under the governance of a local thug, who siphons off the rations allocated for mid-day meals and doesn’t allocate funds for basic maintenance of the premises. Amid crumbling infrastructure and dwindling student population, the school is at risk of being closed down, which one of the teacher’s Miss Nandini (Priyanka Upendra) is hell-bent on avoiding. She then devises a plan to not only ring in a change in management, but also set in motion a chain of events that will benefit government schools at large.

Review: In the last several weeks, one of the major topics of discussion is Challenging Star Darshan’s next, Kranti, which comes to theatres on January 26. So much has been written and said about the film’s subject, which is about safeguarding the interests of Kannada and Kannada-medium government schools. Interestingly, Miss Nandini, which released in theatres today, follows the same theme, making one wonder if it is perhaps a low-key version of Kranti, after all.

Ironically, Miss Nandini has Priyanka Upendra leading this akshara kranti – a non-Kannadiga who has made Karnataka home on account of being married to actor-director Upendra. With her red-tinted locks and impeccably draped saris with not a crease in sight, Priyanka looks almost too posh for a teacher at a government school in a remote village. I tried keeping count of her costume changes; there were a tad too many. But she lends the character ample gravitas, which would have been a lot better if the role was better fleshed out. If Nandini is like a roaring lioness all set to take on the villain in one scene, in the next she’s whimpering and almost cowering in fear – two extreme traits that aren’t explained enough.

Miss Nandini has a simple narrative and doesn’t overly complicate things. It would have benefited if some of the comedy involving the kids had been avoided. The film, it seems, is based on a proposed bill from nearly five years ago, when The HD Kumaraswamy government attempted to make it mandatory for state government officials to send their children to government schools in a bid to raise the quality of education and facilities provided in these institutions. Considering that a large chunk of the private schools in the state are owned by politicos, this is a move that is highly unlikely to ever materialize, so, in effect, Miss Nandini is about a lot of wishful thinking.

Verdict: With an A-list star-led film on the subject of government schools only weeks away, it is unlikely that Miss Nandini will get much attention. In Bengaluru, the film has not even got 20 shows and if the turnout at today’s show was any indication, it is unlikely to sustain that. Miss Nandini is not a bad film, but its preachy nature is unlikely to find it a steady audience.

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