Paathshaala director Milind Ukey is tired of people constantly comparing his film with Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par and says he is highlighting macro issues of the "education system at large".
"People are comparing Paathshaala to Taare Zameen Par, but when they see the film they will realise both are very different," Ukey told IANS in an interview.
"Taare Zameen Par was about one child suffering from dyslexia and my film talks about the education system at large. Our issue and scope are bigger," he added.
The Shahid Kapoor-starrer, choreographer-director Ahmad Khan's debut production venture, is primarily about the Indian education system and deals with contemporary and socially relevant issues regarding children.
Ukey worked with child stars like Swini Khare from Cheeni Kum, Ali Haji from Fanaa, Dwij Yadav from Nanhe Jaisalmer and Avika Gor of Balika Vadhu fame apart from others.
Talking about his experience of working with children, Ukey said: "Handling almost 100 kids every day was not a cakewalk. Managing their mood swings, their study routines, etc., was difficult but at the same time once we knew how to communicate with them we were able to handle them better and it became a pleasurable experience."
Paathshaala, which is slated to release April 16 and was completed in 36 days, also stars Ayesha Takia.
Most of the shooting took place at a set covering an area of 20,000 sq ft in Filmcity. It encompassed all the facilities that a school contains.
When asked about reports that Shahid just has a guest appearance in the movie, Ukey said: "Shahid is not making a guest appearance in the film. I don't know from where this rumour has surfaced. The film is narrated from his point of view and he is an integral part of the project.
"He is a wonderful person to work with. He is an intelligent and creative actor, who gets completely involved in the character he is playing, contributing that something extra to the character."
So are stars important for a film even if the script is strong?
"I feel a star's presence is important for a film; otherwise an important subject like this too gets lost. Stars help in getting the opening for the film and get the film people's attention."
After Paathshaala, Ukey is now working on the script of a film he is planning to make on the third war of Panipat.
"My next project will be a film of the third war of Panipat, which was one of the fiercest wars that ever took place. Once I'm done with the scripting, I'll start working on the other aspects of the film, including the casting," said the director, who earlier made forgettable movies like "Humne Jeena Seekh Liya" (2007).