Films based on sensitive topics are not very common in Bollywood nowadays and just in case if you are looking out for a film on the said topic, then you are in the right place. Filmmaker Jayant Gilatar's 'Chalk N Duster' is one such film which touches the sensitive issue of the relationship between a teacher and a student. Indeed, the subject looks promising but first let's just analyze whether 'Chalk N Duster' will manage to strike the right chords with audience or will it just fizzle out.
The film is an emotional journey of two teachers Vidya (Shabana Azmi) and Jyoti (Juhi Chawla), serving at a Mumbai–based high school. Their passion and love for teaching, bonds them in a special relationship with their students. Their gratification is good grades, moral values which they strive to impart to the students. However, in an evil turn of events, a wicked lady, Kamini Gupta (Divya Dutta) gets appointed as the principal, thus changing the fate of the administration.
Coming to terms with the acting part, it's the two powerhouse actresses Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla who simply devour the roles given to them as well as the screen with their superlative performances. Both of them prove why they were two of the best actresses of yesteryear that we had in the industry. Well, we certainly don't mean to say that they are not the best now, as with this film, they prove that they are still in their prime when it comes to acting. You simply won't be able to do any comparison between the two as both of them dish out a splendid performance in the film. There is this one particular scene in the film, when Shabana Azmi gets insulted and taunted about being an utterly useless and incompetent teacher despite the fact that it was the other way around. The moment she goes through this insult, she suffers an instant heart attack. When you see Shabana performing this act, you are like "Oh My God, did she really have a heart attack??!!" She is so natural. She and Juhi both put out one of the best and emotionally charged performances. Divya Dutta as the evil minded principal of the school is equally commendable in her character. She puts out the trademark evil looks and grins with utmost ease and eventually manages to get you to love to hate her character with her performance. Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor and Richa Chadda all are equally splendid in their respective brief roles and play their parts well. Rest of the supporting cast help in carrying the film forward.
Cinematography of the film is commendable and so is the editing as the film does not get stretchy or laggy at any point of time and manages to keep the audience entertained. Out of the three songs in the film, the one which stands out is 'Aye Zindagi' which is a melodious and heart touching track.
Director Jayant Gilatar has indeed made a fine film which touches the sensitive issue of the relation between a teacher and a student and also puts light on how some power hungry and corrupt individuals who just desire to make money in the name of education, can ruin the education system with their atrocities which is indeed true and prevalant in the country. He manages to jut out fine performances especially from the likes of Juhi, Shabana and Divya.
For those of you who want to take a break and are tired of watching the same old masala kinda flicks, go book your tickets and see 'Chalk N Duster' as it is an emotionally charged and heart touching drama. We are going for a three and a half stars for 'Chalk N Duster'.