with him. After the typical Bollywood incorporation of song and dance,
Nikumbh gives everyone a piece of paper with instructions to “paint,
draw, do whatever you like.” The students are shocked since their
previous art teacher required them to draw exactly what he wanted.
After this scene, which demonstrates Nikumbh’s creative and free-
spirited teaching style, he is confronted by his colleagues in the teacher’s
lounge. They notify him that the school runs on discipline, not fun and
creativity. One teacher tells him that the way he taught at his previous
school, which was a school for mentally disabled children, would not
work at the boarding school. Despite hearing direct disagreement from
his colleagues, however, Nikumbh simply brushes off the comments
and continues to use his own teaching style.
Unlike many of the Hollywood movies that conform to the
Hollywood curriculum as outlined by Dalton, Nikumbh’s fellow
teachers accept his style at the end of the movie and even participate in
an event he organizes for the whole school. Most Hollywood films, as
Dalton describes, “[leave] educational institutions, which represent the
larger cultural status quo, intact and in power” (Dalton 1). However, in
Taare Zameen Par, the teachers happily engage in the school-wide
painting competition he organizes, even though they still think his way
of teaching is obscure. The fellow teachers are portrayed as more light-
hearted at the end of the movie, demonstrating Nikumbh’s influence
over not only the students, but the teachers, as well in a collective effort
at institutional change that is seldom represented in Hollywood films.
Personally Involved with Students
Among all the criteria for a good teacher, Nikumbh
demonstrates this one the most. From the moment he notices that
Ishaan is sad and lonely during his first day teaching at the boarding
school, he has a strong urgency to connect with him and help the boy.
After receiving no response following his initial introduction to Ishaan,
Nikumbh turns to Ishaan’s only friend at the school, a physically
disabled boy named Rajan (Tanay Chheda). He explains to Nikumbh
that Ishaan has trouble reading and writing, which is the source behind