The New Classmate
Nil Battey Sannata
“The New Classmate” —director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s debut — is a heartwarming story about being courageous enough to dream. On her first day of school, Appu has no desire to get out of the bed she shares with her single mother, Chanda. She would much rather spend the day goofing off. After all, as far as Appu can tell, the daughter of a maid has little hope of being employed as anything else. Still, the 10th grade culminates in exams that determine whether Appu will get into college, and Chanda — who works multiple jobs to pay the school tuition — has big dreams for her daughter. When Appu’s apathy hits a new low, Chanda, with the help of her employer, concocts a madcap plan to motivate her daughter and enrolls in her school. If Appu can earn the higher score on the next math test, Chanda will quit and quietly drop out; if not, the mother will mortify her daughter by revealing their relationship to the rest of the class. Does Appu have what it takes to earn a passing grade?