Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sholay In Schools?

Rediff.com reports "More than 25 years after its release, Ramesh Sippy's Sholay continues to make headlines. This time, the film has made history of sorts by being the first to be introduced in schools as a chapter in textbooks! The movie will be part of a course teaching Std 5 students (of the CBSE board) to communicate well in English."

Wow! I'm actually dumbfounded! I've been trying to figure out the relationship between Sholay and teaching 5th standard students to communicate well in English! If I remember all right, Sholay didn't have any dialogues in English. If anything, it popularized Gabbar Singh's Avadhi accent! I wonder if after this, children will start calling their moms Chamiya, dads Sambha and their cars Dhanno!

Arre o Sambha, kaisa jamana aa gaya re!!

[Update: Patient Portnoy kindly pointed me to more information on this, umm...issue! Thanks a ton! And this is what I found out.]

For the first time in the history of Indian academia, an entire chapter in a school textbook will be devoted to a mainstream Bollywood blockbuster. Ramesh Sippy’s multi-starrer Sholay has been added to the Broadway course workbook No 5 for Class V students of CBSE.

Published by Oxford University Press, the inclusion of Sholay is a continuation to the chapter on films and film-making in the Broadway book, which is designed to help students communicate effectively and accurately in English.

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 postulates that the multi-lingual character of our society be treated as a resource and school teaching should focus on what the child understands. Since films are an integral part of our culture and Sholay is one of the most influential films, it has been included in the course, said sources. "The text on films and filmmaking in the course book and Sholay in the workbook is a representation of Indian drama in the life of a child. The choice of Sholay was made because it is a different film in many ways. Besides,we wanted children to be aware of the prominence attached to the Indian film industry," said an insider.

Now, my question is, do the members of National Curriculum Framework really believe that the current generation needs to be made "aware of the prominence attached to the Indian film industry"? As if...

Reactions have been by and large positive. Psychiatrist Harish Shetty believes it is an excellent idea. "Sholay encompasses the ethos and feeling of an era in a brilliant narrative. It can certainly touch young hearts and minds," he said.
However, an academic said: "The negatives may have a bigger influence on children than the positives.... Amjad Khan became more popular than Sanjeev Kumar."

Finally here's a person who said something that made some sense :-)