This week’s release, ‘Chalk n Duster’ is an emotional drama that aims to spread a message about the education system that is getting more commercialized in today’s time. Directed by Jayant Gilatar and produced by Amin Surani, the movie has some ace actors like Shabana Azmi, Juhi Chawla, Girish Karnad, Divya Dutta, Jackie Shroff, among others.
The above shlok beautifully explains how we should always bestow our supreme respect to teachers who with our parents lay the foundation of our bright future. They nurture us with the best of knowledge they have and deserve our sincere respect. Chalk n Duster is an ode to teachers who have been playing a pivotal role in grooming the future of tomorrow.
The story of Chalk N Duster revolves around two teachers Vidya (Shabana Azmi) and Jyoti (Juhi Chawla), who are fond of their profession, but not acknowledged and respected enough by the corrupt school’s management. It is when the shrewd and cunning principal, Kamini Gupta (Divya Dutta), games to replace all senior and highly paid teachers in the name of managerial decisions to get fame and money for the school, the story picks up. Vidya and Jyoti for the respect of their profession take up the challenge to answer the management and education system and win back the honour which every teacher deserves.
Performances in the film:
While the last week’s release, Wazir, has set an example of unusual friendship of two men bonded by fate and remorse, Chalk n Duster is a story of two simple women and their delightful camaraderie.
Vidya Sawant (Shabana Azmi) and Jyoti Thakur (Juhi Chawla), teachers and friends, share a strong connection. Well suited for their respective character, both the actresses have done a decent job.
Juhi Chawla as a versatile science teacher was chirpy and expressive in her character, and her passion for her role in the movie twinkles in her performance.
Accomplished actress as she is, Shabana Azmi was perfectly in the soul of her role. Be it her connection with Jyoti as Vidya the Maths teacher, or her bond with her husband in the movie, she simply nailed every bit of her role.
Divya Dutta plays the ‘Hitler’ principal in the movie. With a crass wig, unappealing wardrobe, you only wonder how she managed to pull off her character with all wickedness and aggression. Aarya Babbar seemed to be over-performing in his character as another antagonist.
While Samir Soni as Jyoti’s (Juhi Chawla) husband in the film had a sketchy character to play, on the other hand,Girish Karnad seemed to have been wasted as an actor in the film. Girish is seen as Vidya’s wheelchair-bound, caring husband who is also fond of chess.
It’s tough to understand why Jackie Shroff’s character (though a cameo) was even required in the movie, yet another talent deserted. Also, Rishi Kapoor was seen as an over-excited quizmaster, this time quizzing the two protagonists, Vidya and Jyoti.
With media doing its bit in the movie, how can we miss out on the character of news reporterBhairavi Thakkar played by Richa Chadda! Her entry in the film was crudely scripted and her character only seemed to have piled on in the script.
The Music of Chalk n’ Duster:
Talking about the music and background score of the movie, for which Musician and singer Sandesh Shandilya, singer Sonu Nigam and lyricist Javed Akhtar have worked as a team, there is nothing impressive about it. All three songs in the movie are stuffed in the first half, none of which seems to be well timed.
The song on life, “Aye Zindagi”, seems to have not much life in it. Sonu Nigam sadly could not add his melodious charm to this number. The song “Deep Shiksha” also leaves you disappointed. Though you will find kids performing on the stage that reminds you of your school days, and even get to hear the melodious Alka Yagnik, but only after you have already lost interest in the song.
“Once you know the values of x and y, I promise you you’ll score very high” –These are words from the the third song, which is actually a jingle on “Bodmas” sung by veteran actress Shabana Azmi herself. It makes you wonder whether Mathematics will ever get as easy and interesting as this song narrates! (Well, Maths is actually fun if you love numbers. Don’t know why and how many of us never liked this subject!
What’s good:On and off, the movie Chalk n Duster takes you for a nostalgic ride where you start thinking of your school days not just as a student relishing some of the most cherished years of his or her live, but as ‘a dear student of your remarkable teachers’. The movie wishes to share a message which it surely does, though not with conviction as a Bollywood film, but rather as a simple story of teachers who give their hearts to their noble profession, while the management wants to take it just as another business. Both the actresses, Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla, have done justice to their roles with admirable performances.
What’s bad:Poor direction and camera work, undernourished music and soundtrack, lots of loose ends in the script and too much of drama are some quick ‘blots’ that anyone would spot in the movie. Even the dialogues in the movie and sloppy dubbing are a big disappointment. Some good actors like Girish Karnad, Jackie Shroff and of course, Richa Chadda have been wasted in the film.
Verdict: Good intentions marred by lousy and over dramatic execution makes Chalk n Duster lose its marks. We leave it on you whether you want to watch it as another Bollywood drama or not, but if you want to do it for your teachers and to acknowledge their efforts, we will give a 10 on 10 with a big smile!
Chalk n Duster Rating: 2.5/5
(P.S: Like we always wanted our teachers to be a bit lenient while checking our answer sheets, that is how I am feeling about rating this very movie. Such a good thought, a sincere subject and despite of having a plethora of talented actors in the bouquet, Chalk n Duster may not go as a shining star on the notice board of our Box Office.)
Chalk n Duster Trivia!
Juhi Chawla had shared in one of her interviews that she used to observe her kid’s teachers, the way they talk and behave, to actually get into the skin of her character in the movie Chalk n Duster!
Now there’s a secret behind the poster of the movie as well! To add the authentic feel to the poster, Juhi Chawla, our bubbly actress actually took classes and trained herself to ride a scooty.
Actress Shabana Azmi said that she was skeptical about doing Chalk n Duster but Juhi Chawla’s enthusiasm for the film made her say a yes for her role.
Singer Sonu Nigam got the fee waived off for his work because of his personal equation with the producer of Chalk n’ Duster, Subhash Singh but was later gifted with a watch!
A lot of scenes of the movie have been shot in real schools and with actual teachers.
Manoj Bajpayee was signed for role of the quizmaster in the movie. But, if rumors are to be believed, Juhi Chawla was not so convinced with this decision and got him replaced. And now, actor Rishi Kapoor is seen playing the same role.
Believing the wise concept and the connection with education in India, Chalk n Duster has been made tax-free in four states – Delhi, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.