Author : Divya Unny
And film-makers couldn't be happier; say it's high time education gets more practical
While the increasing influence of Bollywood is pretty evident in every sphere of our lives, references of the same in school textbooks seemed a bit too far-fetched...untill now that is! The incorporation of a scene from the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer 'Deewar' in the class VII NCERT textbooks (as a lesson for 'value of dignity') has spurred off debates on how ethical it is to encourage children to learn from filmy characters or situations. But many opine that shying away from the obvious influence of Bollywood is definitely not a solution.
Says sociologist Nandini Sardesai, "If the situation that has been cited corresponds perfectly to the attribute kids are being taught, I don't think it really matters whether it is out of Bollywood or out of an episode from history. School books have talked about sportsmen like Sunil Gavaskar as idols of success, which has only worked in favour of children who look up to them. I don't see why Bollywood is an exception."
Film-maker Shyam Benegal asserts that filtering certain positive aspects of those characters will help children differentiate the bad from the good. "Not everything portrayed in films is right and kids can pick up as many negatives as positives from them. If there are such examples that are incorporated in school books, it will help children absorb the right values and demarcate the unrealistic aspects."
Film-maker Anurag Basu agrees, "Cinema manipulates mindsets quite a bit. A film rather than a chapter from our history books is what we will remember 10 years down the line. So why not merge the two?"
If children derive something substantial out of it, most believe that there is no reason why Bollywood can't prove to be an asset to academies. "Studies today are getting so much more realistic and practical that even textbooks have to depart from the stereotyped examples and present something that kids relate to so much more. I think it could be a great learning tool," sums up actor Kay Kay Menon.
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