The Indian movie Chalk and Duster introduces us to an Indian private school with teachers who were seen teaching pupils and dutifully fulfilling their professional obligations. Their supervisor, Ms. Gupta an unempathetic, inconsiderate young woman, would make harsh decisions deliberately to make the teachers suffer even though the principal rescinded her decisions yet she wouldn’t yield to her boss.
She expects her subordinates to be submissive to her while she was unsubmissive to her own boss. We were exposed to more of her flaws when she took the glory of being the dance teacher that was responsible for the children’s outstanding performance at the school’s anniversary (though she wasn’t)
Fast forward to six months after, the unsubmissive Gupta with the help of the young and ambitious owner of the school sacked the previous empathetic and professional principal of the school and was appointed as the new principal of the school. The new, uphanded principal sold her inconsiderate and selfish ideas to the big boss; sadly, the young millionaire agreed to her uncanny plans.
Meanwhile, these teachers are long serving, professional yet kind hearted teachers who know how to effectively transmit knowledge to their students. For instance, we were shown how a Mathematics teacher, Mrs Vidya who transmits mathematical knowledge through the use of relatable songs. You know, I can relate to this because it is easier to learn anything when the knowledge is packaged in an interesting manner. As in, some of us naturally dislike some subjects and fail it because we had Hitler kind of teachers whose classes are usually boring like a convent.
The new Principal, Ms Gupta started with laying unconducive work ethics for the school’s staff and manipulated the Parent Teachers Association into consenting with her malicious dealings with the staff. Of course, this unfriendly work ethics had effects on the staff’s lifestyle. Life became more difficult for them and they were practically living on the edge. It affected their health for they struggled to meet up with obsessively high work demands.
One of the teachers Mrs Vidya, the passionate Maths teacher who insisted on coming to school despite her ill health was wrongfully accused of being incompetent even though no evidences could prove her incompetence. Unfortunately, she was sacked by the authoritative principal because she stood up for herself to debunk the wrongful claim of unprofessionalism and incompetence that she was being accused of.
Seeing her termination of appointment letter, Mrs Vidya had suffered attack and her family was in turmoil for lack of funds to cater for her hospital bills.The unjust incident became viral with the assistance of a rival school owner. The Principal instructed other teachers in the schools not to divulge the truth to the media as she insists that Mrs Vidya should be painted as incompetent.
Wait a moment, how would this whole movie review go without the mention of the angel called Mrs Jyoti? Poor Mrs Vidya as a teacher had little of many things in life, but she had Jyoti who stood by her in her times of trouble. In order to keep Jyoti silent, Gupta tried to bribe Jyoti’s husband and in the course of this, she promoted Jyoti to the supervisor’s office. This move backfired as Jyoti uncovered Gupta’s antics to the entire school and making ample use of the media, she was able to address the unfavorable state of teachers in India. Jyoti’s presence and speech on TV generated enormous empathetic reaction and change of narrative for everyone to be appreciative of the teachers who trained them. As teachers are the one who trained the big professionals to be able to be in the position that they presently are.
Of course, the opponent’s side of Mrs Gupta didn’t just sit and look. They televised false accusations to reinforce that the wrongly sacked teachers Mrs Vidya and Mrs Jyoti were incompetent. This fueled more support from Mrs Vidya’s former students, one of her former students who had become a world renowned doctor stepped in to oversee Mrs Vidya’s medical treatment and clear all her medical bills. Mrs Vidya became well and returned home to her husband who is confined to a wheel chair. This was an emotional scene seeing the two lovebirds reunite after fear of death.
The opponents out of pride refused to apologise to the wrongfully accused rather they decided to wager and proof that the two sacked teachers were incompetent and out dated. The wager involved a competition where the two teachers will be asked questions that would be set by Ms Gupta. The two sister teachers agreed to the wager to publicly prove their professionalism and competence instead of taking the easy route of silently taking 1 million Rupees forgetting the case. They two teachers took the competition on national TV and won. They got the 50 Million rupees and were reinstated to Kanta Ben School as teachers and Ms Gupta was made to apologise to the two competent and passionate teachers she had wrongfully accused of being uncapable.
They pledged that the money will be used to build a school where education will be education and not a business. The school will be led by Mrs Shariashi, the empathetic principal that was previously sacked at Kanta Ben school while the two teachers said they will stick to being ‘Chalk and Duster’, meaning teachers.
This movie ended on the note of sweet victory as truth eventually prevailed over deception, leaving the wrongdoers shamed and on the losing board.
Have a great week ahead, Je t’aime mon ami