Cast: Adyasha Mohapatra, Debu Bose, Diptimayee Panda
Director: Subas Das
If a man eats two sweets in two minutes, then the math says he consumes one sweet in a minute. But what if he gobbles up more than one sweet in that one minute? These are the kind of questions that dog the young mind of Mini (Mohapatra), the protagonist of Aw Aakare Aa. And the conventional bookish knowledge doesn’t do much to satisfy her curiosity.
Should one take textbook questions just as they are — set and formulaic? Does our educational system welcome alternative thinking and unconventional questions? Is our quest for knowledge based on numbers and numbers alone? For a country obsessed with marks and reserving a child’s competence to result cards, Aw Aakare Aa explores these questions with great simplicity.
Mini is a motherless child and has many questions to ask. When sent to her grandfather in the village, this inquisitive girl discovers the joys and mysteries of nature. Far from the dreariness of classroom teaching, memorizing lessons and appearing for exams, Mini gathers new interests. She excels at flying kites, learns to climb trees and catch fish.
When the world makes her weary, the little girl finds supports in her imaginary teacher, Miss Mini. Away from yelling teachers and boring classes, Miss Mini takes her out in the open fields, where games replace homework, lessons are shared with songs and dance, and learning is fun.
As the little Mini grows up, she still finds herself struggling with a flawed education system — only now as a teacher. Unable to conform to constricted ideas of teaching and learning, she charts a new territory for herself and her students.
Aw Aakare Aa is a sincere effort that questions the drudgery of classroom teaching and emphasizes on the need of harboring unorthodox ideas in the process of learning.
Awards: National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Odia (Year – 2003)