Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Chalk N Duster

Smother Sir With Love

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

This is a movie whose heart is in the right place. But everything else is so unsubtle, so in your face, after a while, you're watching it like you would a gory, ghastly multi-car accident - you're watching but you shouldn't.

Main Review:

The premise is lovely. Education has become a business and we don't value our teachers enough. 

The stars are lovely too. Shabana Azmi, Juhi Chawla are really really sweet as teachers. And it is a pleasure to see Zarina Wahab on screen again. Divya Dutta who is genuinely sweet and sugar is amazing as the wicked witch of the west. Conniving and mean spirited, she does make you want to scratch her eyes out. 

But it's not enough to have stars sign up to play the roles they do. There needs to be craft, and sensitivity. Which is lacking completely. The issues that the movie tries to tackle are real issues, that is obvious. But the issues are handled like a clown chucking pies at the audience relentlessly. It's tragic, really. 

Kicking out older, experienced teachers to bring in younger teachers at less salaries is a truth faced by many industries, and it could have been shown in ways better than 'take away their chairs so they have to stand in classrooms and will get tired'. We then see teachers walking slowly, exhausted, their feet swelling up...

Principal talking rudely to teachers, teachers cowering helplessly because they need the salary, principal conniving with management, principal's 'chamchi' speaking rudely to teachers, 'Call me madam!', teacher fantasizing about beating up the aforementioned 'chamchi', the television journalist speaking rudely to the 'management' of the school, media chief taking bribes from the 'management'... It's all obvious and shown with no finesse at all. The treatment of the subject is loud and so crass you shake your head at the speechifying, 'Dronacharya is unwell and needs your help. Kahan gaye sab Arjun?'

The students rallying (they taught so many famous people, I wondered if real celebs were going to show up as past students), the finale (excruciatingly long quiz contest run like KBC by none other than Rishi Kapoor) is just tiresome ( a couple of questions were interesting, though). 

If the movie shows up on the telly, watch it because you're of the generation that found old school teachers on Facebook. If you're still in college or school, you'll switch channels faster than anyone can sing song that, 'Good morning miss!'


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