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My teacher bestest

  • Smita Vyas Kumar

    Smita Vyas Kumar (6,903 DM Points)

    Rated 
    3.0
    Desimartini | Updated - January 23, 2016 9:02 AM IST
    3.0DM (435 ratings)

    Verdict - A movie with a solid heart. May be amateurish and maudlin in parts but deserves a watch for what it conveys.

    Chalk N DusterWatch trailerRelease date : January 15, 2016

    Teachers get a raw deal even though they are the ones who shape the future of the country. Education is now more a business than a mission and in the quest for profitability schools make decisions that compromise their heart i.e. the teachers.

    This is the message that Chalk n Duster puts across. The story is about a school where the new Principal is a draconian lady who wants to make the school an international class one with celebrity students and lots of amenities such as a swimming pool etc. This of course means an increase in fees and stricter rules for teachers such as no chairs in the class for them to sit on. Her plan is to ease out the old teachers and get in a new "younger, prettier" set of teachers. The principal fires a teacher with 27 years of service on the grounds of being incompetent and the teacher suffers a heart attack. Another teacher rebels against her and with the help of media seeks justice. The rest of the movie is about the fight between the management and the teachers with no prizes for guessing the end really.

    The star cast is stellar with Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla in the lead as the two main teachers. Shabana brings dignity and gentleness to her portrayal of the maths teacher and Juhi's trademark chirpiness translates into sincerity here which is necessary for her role. They are more than ably supported by Divya Dutta as the manipulative and ruthless Principal. She makes you hate her. Her wardrobe also is a good lesson in power dressing for teachers. They are ably supported by the other teachers as well as Girish Karnad as Shabana's husband and Rishi Kapoor as a game show host. I think he can prepare for a career as one.

    The movie is well paced and quite short. It seems a bit clunky at times and amateurish in parts. The Principal is a caricature with no shades of grey, which makes her a bit unreal and the fight too black and white. The way the story progresses also is not very imaginative and is quite predictable. But I guess it doesn't claim to be a thriller so that's not such a huge failing.

    The important thing is that the movie has a huge big heart, which beats in the right place and brings a lump to your throat at the right moments. It makes you remember your teachers with fondness and that guilty feeling that you haven't bothered to look them up in years. It does this without becoming too preachy though it can be bit too maudlin at times. It also opens your eyes to some startling facts such as teachers are paid a ridiculous sum of Rs.4.25 for every SSC paper they correct.

    This movie is gentle reminder to stop the treadmill we are on for a moment and think about those who have helped us grow and who now teach our children and mould them into good citizens. It is well worth a watch for this thought alone.

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