Shiksha Mandal is a show that revolves around the infamous Vyapam education scam that took India by storm a few years in 2013. From politicians to policemen everyone was involved in helping undeserving candidates pass entrance exams through various unlawful means. However, the elaborate nature of the syndicate came as surprise to many.
Set in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, the premise of the show anticipates a similar opening wherein Aditya (Gulshan Devaiah), who runs a coaching institute finds himself embroiled in the situation when his sister, Vidya goes missing. Accompanying him with his search is Special task Officer Anuradha (Gauhar Khan), who also intends to get to the root of the cause.
But the show, although initially holds promise steadily takes a turn for the worse despite having a stellar cast to work with. The two lead actors, Devaiah and Khan, try to hold their own as the narrative jumps from one plotline to the other. With the corrupt politicians, caricaturish villains and a holier-than-thou hero, that story lacks nothing but somehow feels overburdened with its need to be a gripping thriller.
Moreover, some narratives seem forced and unnecessary – adding neither depth nor momentum to the characters and the plot. The dialogues more often than not seem repetitive, for instance, when Aditiya barges out of the room when Anuradha requests him to share any information available on his sister seems forced and uncalled for. Much of the scenes in the show follow a similar pattern where the characters seem predominantly gimmicky.
The series also barely manages to grip its audience with its nine-episode-long drawl. Many other shows have already attempted to make a similar narrative around the same topic- The Whistleblower being one of them. But all these shows fail to create a reverberating impact. Certain characters come across as caricaturish having little to no backstory.
The show has a lot on its plate and barely manages to piece it all together. And with characters who behave more like puppets than flesh and blood people, it’s not too difficult to say where it all went wrong. In one scene Anuradha is seen riding a horse in her attempt to rescue someone, the scene was hilarious at best and unnecessary at worst. But in the end, the show bites off more than it can chew and does so clumsily.