society views disabilities. This movie brings forth these issues and even
influenced educational reform. According to an article in The Economic
Times, “Mumbai’s civic body, which runs 1188 schools, will start 12
classrooms for autistics” (Naithani 1) and “just 10 days after its [the
film] release, persuaded the CBSE to grant extra time to special children
during examinations” (Naithani 1). The impact of the movie remains
current in the Indian education system and in Indian societal ideology.
The 2007 Bollywood blockbuster, Taare Zameen Par, is a movie
with a purpose larger than entertainment. The movie pinpoints Indian
societal problems and the need for education reform specifically for
students with disabilities. The art teacher in the film, Ram Shankar
Nikumbh, plays the leading role in voicing these concerns, which he
does while corresponding to the criteria from The Hollywood Model of
the good teacher established by Dalton. Nikumbh uses his role as a
good teacher to transform the life of a struggling dyslexic boy, Ishaan
Awasthi. Additonally, Nikumbh’s role as the typical Hollywood good
teacher unveils the flaws in the current Indian education system. The
Good Teacher Model in this movie is used less for thematic purposes
but as an actual example for Indian educators to evaluate their own
teaching methods. The contrast of the typical, disciplinary Indian
teacher is blatantly ineffective in this movie, especially in the situation
of students like Ishaan who suffer from learning disabilities. The
effectiveness of Ram Shankar Nikumbh as a teacher in the movie
creates the realization both on screen and in Indian society of the
importance of patience and understanding when teaching. Taare Zameen
Par highlights the problems with the distant and formal relationship
between students and teachers in a typical Indian classroom. The social
and educational reform the movie enacted attests to the flaws in the
education system at the time, which was inhibiting students with
disabilities from performing to their full potential.
However, it is important to note that Hollywood’s Good
Teacher Model is not the only effective approach to teaching. In the
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