Why Bollywood Does Not Take Its Female Teachers Seriously

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female teachers in bollywood
2 min read

This Teacher’s Day, we’re looking at the gendered and objectified manner in which Bollywood represents its female teachers.

What’s the first thing that pops in your head if we ask you to think about teachers in Bollywood? No matter which character you think of, they’re bound to fall into these two types- it’s either Narayan Shankar from Mohabbatein, (the authoritative patriarch kind) or Ms. Chandni from Main Hoon Na (the objectified and unrealistic female teacher kind).

Despite the fact that we traditionally think of teaching as an innately female profession, Bollywood still refuses to acknowledge, or create female teachers who are wholesome and real or relatable in any way. So this Teachers Day, watch the video as we explore how Bollywood has the tendency to objectify its female teachers and why there’s a lack in this representation of female characters as teachers.

The Gendered Portrayal Of Female Teachers In Bollywood

Despite the fact that the teaching career is looked at as an innately feminine profession, most of the good representations of teachers in Bollywood are all male characters. 

Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par and Dangal, to an extent. Shah Rukh Khan in Mohabbatein and Chak De India, Rishi Kapoor in Do Dooni Chaar, Shahid Kapoor in Paathshala etc. etc. 

So why is this happening? 

Different question. Same answer.

Female characters in Bollywood are created to serve the male gaze. 

Female representation in Bollywood has traditionally been limited to roles like the sacrificial mother, the nurturing lover, the violated sister whose honour needs to be fought for and the snarky mother-in-law. Female characters are often the muse for the man’s personal growth – mere crutches  that propel the man’s journey and character arc. 

So why should the teacher be any different? A teacher too, is viewed primarily as an object of male sexual fantasy, there to titillate and excite the male viewer. If that puts you off, think of the countless sketches of teachers in school washrooms, and you will know that this portrayal is deeply rooted in reality. 

But as we celebrate Teacher’s Day this year, let’s hope we get more authentic, real and powerful female teachers – like so many of the real life ones. 

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

Having an honours' degree in Liberal Arts, and currently pursuing her Masters' from Sarah Lawrence College, NY; Kritiksha Sharma is a part-time Theatre Actor and a full time procrastinator. She likes to believe that she has some crazy organisational skills but the hundreds of unopened messages and mails on her phone have another story to tell. A big time pop culture enthusiast, she finds nothing more comforting than going to bed while watching a rom-com and snuggling with her laptop as she dreams of things to write about.

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