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Teachers Day: status of teachers through the films

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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In LAGE RAHO MUNNAI BHAI there is a dialogue, when Munna and Circuit are returning back to the village, and Circuit asks Munna what would they be doing in the village, and Munna blurts out that they would become teacher. This is how it seems teachers have been generally portrayed in the Indian cinema, with exceptions.

The teachers, if they have appeared as a character in a Hindi film have been mostly been a Hindi teacher, and they have been used to ridicule the profession of teaching as also the Hindi language, even though it is Hindi as a language that has given the Hindi films a global recognition. The only role where a teacher was portrayed in a very respectable light was in Dharmendra starrer SATYAKAM. The other end of the spectrum for teachers has been epitomized in MAIN HOON NAA where Sushmita Sen is the teacher with Oomph, while the wily professor Sunil Shetty is the villain.

It was Gulzar who with his films KITAB and PARICHAY tried to bring sensibility to the role of teacher in a Hindi film. These have, incidentally been one of the two better films in which Jeetendra acted. CHUPKE CHUPKE is touted as a film which had exemplary role of teachers, however the teachers enacted by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan have never been shown inside the class, and they have assumed the role of teacher different from their specializations. Result is that the subjects of Botany and Hindi have been put into ridicule. The angst of a struggle that a teacher has and the relationship that fosters between a teacher and student to the point of megalomania is best illustrated in BLACK. Teachers whenever they have been shown as young have either been shown pursuing their romantic interests or playing one against the other to have the grapple of things, as in DO AUR DO PAANCH, or in INTEHAAN where Vinod Khanna had to succumb to the pressure of the students and leave the college to clear his name.

The most sensitive performance that has been enacted for the role of a teacher has been that done by Naseerudin Shah be it in the role of a blind teacher in SPARSH or as a teacher in SIR, who to protect his student is ready to wage a war with the gangster as well. The romantic association between a teacher and a student, or the existentialist dilemma that a student on the verge of adolescence as to whether take the teacher on the face value as a teacher or have fascination about falling in love with her has been best portrayed through MERA NAAM JOKER between Simmy and Raj Kapoor. A rather fleeting influence of SUMMER OF 42 seems to be at work in this film.

Whenever there has been a teacher who is idealist he has to die or suffer a humiliation at the hands of villain and it paves the way for the younger brother either to take revenge or reform. KASME VAADE falls into this genre, and is a live example of what influence a teacher can bring upon a student. SADMA was another end of the stream, where a teacher to reform his student who is mentally ill, goes to the maximum extent possible, and himself is converted into a mentally deranged individual, and this is what a teacher is all about, and this is how a teacher holds his student.

The genre of relationship that a teacher has still remains unexplored to its full potential as far as the Hindi films are concerned. May be, it has to do with the esteem that a teacher holds in the society, and therefore it finds reflection in the same magnitude through the films.

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