Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Watermelon days) explores the teacher-student power dynamics ever so subtly, foregrounding an adolescent crush, that you almost miss it. Debutant director G D Girish’s totally-in-control coming-of-age film depicts how a teacher can literally mess up a student’s school days.
Jaison (Mathew Thomas) joins St. Sebastian School for plus two and, like all teenagers, is keen to make an impression on his new schoolmates and teachers as a padipist, in other words, the studious kind. (According to the Macmillian dictionary padipist: of a pupil: extremely good at learning.)
The regular school day is a tedious affair with students falling off to sleep or doodling even as teachers attempt to rattle off boring stuff. Jaison’s know-all attitude irks his fellow classmates but he is rewarded with the much-coveted task of collecting the answer papers after a test by the teacher. The film weaves in humorously the rigid structure of the class environment, where the best students occupy the front row and the academically poor students bunch up as the backbenchers.