A guy staying with his father in a jail in Kota, just cleared IIT-JEE!

Just read about a guy called Peeyush from Kota, in today’s newspaper.

A convict’s son has scripted an extraordinary success story by preparing for IIT entrance exams while staying with his father in an 8×8 feet cell in an open jail in Kota for almost two years, because he did not have money for the hostel fee. Peeyush Meena, son of convict Phoolchand, has secured 453 rank (ST Category) in JEE-Advanced results. [news link]

What a fascinating story! I can’t help thinking about a possible feature length documentary built around this. The documentary could explore:

  • father-son relationship;
  • the father’s story (who did he murder, why?)
  • understanding of “open prisons” (I had no idea anything like this existed anywhere);
  • Kota and the whole IIT rate-race culture that breeds in the city;
  • burden of being a criminal in India.

I can already imagine following Peeyush as he goes for counseling [update: I think that’s already over], trying to get a good branch, starting his new life in a campus, his growth as an individual over the next one year etc. I can also imagine shooting in the jail premises (hopefully with the required permissions). And I can imagine the challenge of putting all of this together in a structured manner; where should the story end for example, when Peeyush cracks JEE? Or when his father is released from open jail in 2018? And there are more questions. Would I sustain the enthusiasm and energy of completing a feature length documentary? What if this story end ups lacking enough substance for a feature (in spite of it’s appeal as a “breaking news”)?

Anyway, I am glad I was at least able to put together my thoughts. That’s some kind of a start in itself. I need to see if this idea fades away in the next few days, or haunts me day and night. That will determine how I proceed with it. But if I do want to do something about it, I probably don’t have much time. The session for this year will begin in July. And I wouldn’t want to miss shooting Peeyush when he gets a hostel room for the first time! From one jail to another?

PS: feature image clicked in Kota in 2015 – while I was there to work on a commissioned 3 Minute Story assignment.

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