Today, 5th September, is known as Teacher’s Day in India. On celluloid, there have been many portrayals of teachers over the years. Some have been inspirational and unforgettable whereas others have proven strict and stern in nature. There have been the rare few who have had us laughing until our stomachs hurt and also those who were just too sexy to be in the teaching profession. Before you start thinking about them all in your head, BizAsia are going to touch upon some of the most popular and memorable of the teaching bunch in recent years.
When it comes to inspirational, undoubtedly, the name that would spring to everyone’s mind if Aamir Khan as Nikumbh Sir in 2007’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’. With child star Darsheel Safary as the young protagonist, Khan portrays the trials of a teacher wanting to make known and help parents understand that their child is creatively a genius even though he may be academically dyslexic. Another teacher that encouraged broadening of mind and changed the face of B-town’s portrayal of such roles altogether was Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Black’ (2005). Rani Mukerji played a deaf and blind character who eventually takes to him and proudly and lovingly calls him ‘Teacher’. Raj Aryan in ‘Mohabbatein’ (2000) was just as thought-provoking in both character and teaching method, teaching his group of male students about the beauty of love and freedom.
In contrast, Bachchan as the principal Narayan Shankar in ‘Mohabbatein’ was more inclined towards sticking to the rules and living within limits and traditions. The representation of a Boarding School on Indian soil was indeed larger-than-life but taught the audiences that cinematic excellence and chemistry of well-known names coupled with fresh newcomers made for great viewing. When talking about draconian behaviour, who can forget ‘Virus’ of ‘3 Idiots’ (2009) rendered by the immensely talented Boman Irani? His was an extreme character who was just as rigid with his own timetable of a given day as he was with his under-performing students. His heartless style made him a total opposite to the film’s main character played by Aamir Khan and perhaps this is what makes him so memorable in modern times.
Comical teachers are perhaps always easy to forget if they are just characters within an otherwise intertwined plot. However, the ones that we would like to mention are principal Mr Malhotra and Mrs Briganza, expertly played by Anupam Kher and Archana Puran Singh respectively. This duo in 1998’s ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ made for some excellent scenes and laugh-out-loud memories. Often more child-like than the college-goers they were in charge of, Kher’s laughter and change of character around Puran Singh in the film can be seen as an important part in the overall background story. ‘Main Hoon Na’ (2004) was also a story about a college and the teachers were a highlight in this instance too. Whether it be yesteryear actress Bindu’s funny wrong pronunciations of English words as Mrs Kakkad or Satish Shah’s cringeworthy salivating as Professor Rasai, it all made for some entertaining anecdotes within the grand scheme of the story.
Last but not the least, there have been some modern teachers who were perhaps too hot to be in the profession. Once again touching on Farah Khan’s ‘Main Hoon Na’, Sushmita Sen ups the glamour in the said college as new teacher Chandni who Major Ram (Shah Rukh Khan) is absolutely mesmerised by. Kajol in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was also a little too glamorous for her role as a teacher at the summer camps which little Anjali attends. Shah Rukh Khan in 2007’s ‘Chak De India’ was also a very handsome coach of the girl’s hockey team. 2005’s ‘Shabd’ also saw Aishwarya Rai Bachchan render a role of a college teacher and there’s no question about her sexiness. Chitrangada Singh also has a sexy college professor’s role to her career in ‘Desi Boyz’ (2011).
So there we have it; a slice of Bollywood’s teacher portrayals. Whether we love them or hate them for the choices their character’s make, no doubt we are grateful that Indian cinema and audiences allow such a variety of portrayals to be successful and become memorable on the big screen and beyond. Happy Teacher’s Day from BizAsia to all the teachers out there.