Does Vikrant Massey’s ’12th Fail’ mislead learners by portraying a hero’s victory in the UPSC tests?

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Vikrant Massey’s ’12th Fail’ – A Story of Triumph and Struggle

The box-office success story of Vikrant Massey’s ’12th Fail’, directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, is making waves. High praise has been showering in from critics, fans, and other celebrities alike. This heartfelt drama, based on the life of IPS Manoj Kumar Sharma, has struck a chord with audiences. However, questions arise about how accurately the film portrays the struggle to success—a journey filled with numerous trials and tribulations. In particular, the film touches on the intense competition faced by UPSC aspirants, with only a small fraction successfully making it to the Final Cut.

The Journey Through Failure and Triumph

Our protagonist, Manoj, portrayed compellingly by Massey, fails to crack the exam in his first two attempts and finally succeeds in his third try. While the story paints a happy, ultimate picture, it also starkly points out the fact that the journey involves more rejections than selections. A similar sentiment was echoed in Aanand L Rai’s ‘Raanjhanaa’. However, it’s important to note that processes and circumstances have evolved from the time when Sharma cleared his examination to the present. Therefore, prospective aspirants seeking to draw inspiration from this film may not be able to completely replicate Sharma’s journey.

The Insider’s Perspective

Ananth Rupanagudi, an Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) officer, provides some insight into the realities and the creative liberties taken in the film. He comments on our source, Reader Wall, “The film is reasonably well-made with certain ‘artistic liberties’ which slightly overstate the burden of the UPSC examination process and efforts”. He adds to this by saying, “Yes, the exam takes a lot of effort. However, compared to the film’s depiction, the interview panel members are generally not hostile nor excessively judgmental.”

Exploring the Artistic Liberties of the Film

For the sake of creating a riveting cinematic spectacle, the director has crafted a stirring drama that resonates with audiences. However, expecting the film’s depiction of Sharma’s journey to reflect every aspirant’s experience may be an unrealistic stretch. Content from the source of Reader Wall reviews the film saying, “While ’12th Fail’ does feel familiar, it also gives a sense of déjà vu. Though the plot and situations might recall some other stories, it does capture the journey of failure to success in its unique way. So why bother making it different?”


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