teachers continue to deem him a lazy, subpar student. With no support
system from adults or peers, Ishaan falls into a deep depression, and his
view of his own self-worth plummets drastically. He even stops creating
art, which has been his only escape.
Ishaan’s life turns around, however, when Ram Shankar
Nikumbh becomes the school’s new art teacher. Unlike the other
teachers, Nikumbh does not focus his teaching style on discipline but
rather on imagination and inspiration. He notices Ishaan sulking in class
while his peers sing and dance and takes an interest in him. Nikumbh
realizes that Ishaan is not the bad student everyone thinks he is and
pinpoints his dyslexia. Through personalized teaching, Nikumbh helps
Ishaan make dramatic improvements academically and reinstates his
passion for art.
Bollywood’s Good Teacher Model
The rest of this essay will apply The Hollywood Model of the
good teacher developed by Dalton to the character Ram Shankar
Nikumbh. As described in The Hollywood Curriculum, “the teacher is a
main character that is presented as a good force in the movies, painted
against a backdrop of institutional and societal woe, and positioned as
markedly different from most of the other teachers and virtually all of
the administrators” (Dalton 21). Nikumbh satisfies the criteria of The
Hollywood Model, some aspects more than others. As a teacher, he is
an outsider, personally involved with students, learns from students, has
tension with administrators, and personalizes his curriculum.
Teacher as an Outsider
Ram Shankar Nikumbh begins as the art teacher at New Era
High School in the middle of the term after the previous teacher travels
to New Zealand for a new job opportunity. The first teaching scene in
Nikumbh’s classroom is starkly different from all the other teaching
scenes from the movie, both from Ishaan’s first school and the
boarding school. Nikumbh comes into the classroom singing and
dressed as a clown and eventually the whole class is singing and dancing
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