Friday, 15th January 12:40 PM IST
CHALK N DUSTER Is Intriguing Drama Backed By Powerful Performances
inconsistent editing, forced placing of songs, overdramatic, amateur direction
Watch it for noble concept and superlative performances
Juhi Chawla gave solid act in 'Gulaab Gang' and after 'Taare Zameen Par', audience and market both started accepting films with children in background. This all makes 'Chalk N Duster' an interesting one with good medley of actresses and noble concept.
Chalk N Duster is mostly about the management of a popular public school Kantaben High School where Indu Ji (Zarina Wahab) is the principal. Kamini Gupta (Divya Dutta), who can’t see education and business in seclusion, is her deputy. Vidya Sawant (Shabana Azmi) and Jyoti Thakur (Juhi Chawla) are senior and much-loved teachers who put their students above everything. Has it started to remind you of Shahid Kapoor-starrer Paathshaala? Well, that film was also based on a similar theme. But this one dares to venture beyond the school’s staffroom.
One fine day, the management decides to pass the chairman’s baton to an ambitious, foreign-educated hothead. Played by Arya Babbar, the new chief wants to make the school more presentable to the rich and mighty, thereby triggering a conflict with Vidya and Jyoti. In no time, it becomes a direct war between the management and teachers. But who is on the right side of the fence? Why should a public school bother about the people who can’t pay enough? Who is responsible for such a situation where teachers are bound to become order-following clerks? Can a teacher induce the habit of free thinking in students in such a scenario? Do teachers really need to be seen as gurus?
The pace of the film is good in the 1st half and there is enough content to keep its promise with audience. But sudden forced introduction of songs completely breaks the film's pace in addition to a bit amateur direction and over-dramatization of events.
Performance wise Juhi Chawla stands tall with her solid act. Divya Dutta and Zarina Wahab are apt and perfect. Shabana Azmi is in scintillating form and Richa Chaddha is truly now face of content oriented cinema. Rishi Kapoor as host is silver lining of the film despite having a cameo.
Film has good screenplay and decent dialogues. Film has inconsistent editing as film is good in earlier part of 1st half and then goes haywire repetitive in 2nd half. Music is good but does not work in the film. Cinematography is average, production design is perfect and costumes are apt.
Director Jayant Gilatar has chosen a noble concept and he should be lauded for that but he falls in terms of execution as film goes into over - dramatic mode plus at times the treatment is too high handed.
Film released today and it will get good to average reviews but it will get poor opening due to genre/feel/treatment. Film has one open week and so the real challenge is to stabilize at box office as this genre tends to open poor but can hold if get good word of mouth.
Go for this one only if you are looking for some great performances!