Chalk N’ Duster review: Nothing rescues this Juhi Chawla, Shabana Azmi film

Chalk N’ Duster review: It is a subject that deserves a great deal of attention, but not in the way this Juhi Chawla, Shabana Azmi film does it.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: January 15, 2016 12:44 pm
Chalk N’ Duster, Chalk N’ Duster review, Chalk N’ Duster movie review, Chalk N’ Duster film reviewm juhi chawla, shabana azmi Chalk N’ Duster review: It is a subject that deserves a great deal of attention, but not in the way this Juhi Chawla, Shabana Azmi film does it.

That education should not be a business is something we all believe in. We also know just exactly how much the lure of filthy lucre has driven teaching, the noblest profession, into a corner : the `good’ teachers who want to selflessly impart knowledge are getting scarcer, and the `bad’ guys with calculators and power point presentations are taking over.

It is a subject that deserves a great deal of attention, but not in the way ‘Chalk N’ Duster’ does it. The treatment is amateurish in the extreme, reducing the conflict to good teachers vs greedy gobblers of money and fame. Kantaben School, run by the just principal (Zarina Wahab) sees a hostile take-over by a `desi’ scheming Cruela De Vil-type togged out in designer saris and a permanent snarl ( Dutta). The teachers who are there because they love what they do, especially the middle-aged maths teacher (Shabana Azmi) and the younger, chirpier teacher of science (Juhi Chawla) and the other like-minded people are left stranded. The rest of it pans out exactly as we expect it to, minus subtleties or nuance, plus heavy-handed sanctimony.

Which is a pity, because these are all good actresses, and it is so difficult to have women in a film doing something meaningful, other than singing and dancing and playing second fiddle. In the second half, both Chawla and Azmi’s characters get the chance to be emotional and tug at our heart-strings. When they are on screen, we stay watching even when the situations and dialogues are wince-making. Dutta, who is usually so reliable, is reduced to a one-dimensional evil schemer. And Chaddha shows up as a bustling crusading TV journalist who goes where the cause is, both on the street and in the studio.

Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ still remains the go-to film on how the educational system is going down the drain, and what we can do to save it. But nothing rescues this one, not Jackie Shroff nor Rishi Kapoor (in bit parts), nor the sprightly ladies, despite their game attempts.

One and a half stars.

Star Cast: Shabana Azmi, Juhi Chawla, Divya Dutta, Arya Babbar, Zarina Wahab, Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor
Director : Jayant Gilatar

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  1. Mohnish Bajwa
    Mar 15, 2018 at 12:44 pm
    Only part that seemed filmi , artificial and contrived was the Placard Weilding DRONCHARYA KE ARJUN sequences. The entire country does not watch the sme channel/same program/same telacast at the same time!! Could have been done more subtly, Moral and financial support can come in smoothly as well.. without dramatics and being overwhelmingly story- book depictions...
    1. अतुल प्रकाश सिन्हा
      Oct 23, 2017 at 10:39 pm
      You are biased. sAw this movie on TV today. It's a brilliant movie. You stop this business of movie critic thing. You don't deserve.
      1. A
        Jan 8, 2017 at 7:58 pm
        I was moved when teacher were asked to teach standing in cl room and they showed their dedication towards their profession well directed hats off for the director too
        1. J
          Jiya chheda
          Mar 22, 2016 at 10:48 am
          In this movie my two friends are there in dance "Tvisha Bengali " and " Reeva . They both are in my school "Holy Angel's School"
          1. S
            Sophie gendy
            Jan 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm
            It's a beautiful movie. I love Juhi chawla.
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