The Tamil Nadu Teachers Association is up in arms against Jyotika’s recent film Raatchasi (where she played a no-nonsense government teacher on a mission to revamp public schools) and wants the film banned. Raatcahsi was directed by Gowthamraj and had sharp dialogues by Bharathi Thambi. And was bankrolled by Dream warriors Pictures.
They allege that the movie denigrates government school teachers and presents gross misrepresentation of facts while indirectly glorifying private schools.
A statement issued by the association lashes out on Raatchasi. It states, “Under the pretext of the theme of refurbishing government schools, Raatchasi featuring Jyotika as a teacher and a tough task master was released on July 5 and in a way slings mud at teachers and government schools. They claim Raatchasi is a message oriented and progressive film, but, by producing this film they actually get both wide publicity as well as money. There are a lot of dialogues suggesting government schools always look dirty with filth all around, teachers come and go at their will and wish, they indulge in side activities besides teaching, and some are subjected to sexual abuse, which are misleading and incorrect. By projecting wrongly, how do you expect parents to come forward and admit their wards in government schools?”
They say that the association is regularly updating the government on the enhancement of quality of education in their schools. “Without getting any facts correct and without doing any research, why do they make a shoddy film like this?”.
The association also alleges that they are indirectly glorifying and promoting private schools and hailing privatisation of education. “It is appreciable to portray Jyotika as a principled teacher. All the same, projecting all other teachers in Raatchasi in bad light is unacceptable. We do agree there may be exceptions”.
Recalling a sad incident that took place at a private school they ask, “Why didn’t any filmmaker come forward to make a film when 90 children died in fire accident? There’s not even a mention of 2000 unauthorised private schools that are functioning the state. Why didn’t this supposed to be forward thinking director insist that education is the primary responsibility of the government?”
The statement ends saying that most of the government school teacher are selfless and service oriented and Raatchasi which advocates wrong opinions on us should be banned.
When producer of the movie Prabhu was contacted he said, “We never had any intention to denigrate any government school teachers. The film imparts a message that good teachers can bring about a change in the society. And why would we talk about private schools when the script never demanded one. Neither, we have glorified them. Why should they curb our freedom of expression? After all, there is a Censor Board for the film industry who are there to guide us.”
Gowthamraj, on his part, said, “I studied in a government school only. And I did extensive research in hundreds of government schools from Tarapuram to Kanyakumari before embarking on my script. I have witnessed myself that the corporation schools in the city are totally different from the ones where you touch outskirts. There’s a sharp dialogue also attacking private schools and I don’t know how they missed it. However, my humble opinion is that instead of fretting with me, why can’t they approach government to improve their schools in all ways.”