On Teacher's day, 5 South Indian films with inspiring teacher figures

From Kamal Haasan to Mohanlal, the teacher trope has been nothing short of inspiring
On Teacher's day, 5 South Indian films with inspiring teacher figures
On Teacher's day, 5 South Indian films with inspiring teacher figures
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Nammavar (Our people)

Tamil, 1994

Kamal Haasan as Selvam

This National Award-winning remake of Hollywood film “The Principal” stars Kamal Hassan, who plays Selvam, the witty, sardonic vice principal. He locks horns with the college donor's son Ramesh, a boisterous and brash student whose parents were never around. He transforms the vandalized classrooms along with fellow teacher Vasanthi, played by Gauthami. The pair are shown along with the students prancing around the class with brooms and sponges in the iconic song “Sutham enbathu Namakku”.

Gauthami initially opposes Selvam’s methods, but slowly falls for him. Selvam is loving, jovial and calmly cajoles Ramesh as he throws around his weight. In a scene set in the college’s restroom, Ramesh is provoked by Selvam when the latter confronts him about his insecurities and his dysfunctional family. It’s a turning point for Ramesh, but in a rage he angrily smashes his head on a mirror and tries to implicate Selvam. But Selvam is never angered and instead treats him with more compassion.


Tamil, 2014

Jayaprakash as Chokkalingam 

In Pasanga (Boys), Chokkalingam plays the tempered teacher in the rural mileu who is sensible and never reprimands children. There’s a telling scene in the movie where at the end of the academic year, Chokkalingam asks everyone to a write a letter about the good and bad things of the past year and how they feel about their teacher. The children are open and frank and Chokkalingam patiently listens and never scolds them. This makes Anbu and Jeeva, two boys open with their rivalry, share their feelings about one another and bring them back together.



Malayalam, 2011

Prithviraj as Vinayachandran

A newly appointed teacher at Vannamala government school, Vinayachandran not only revamps the dilapidated school building, but also finds a place in the minds of students and other teachers.

From a school where students and teachers bunk lectures, Vinayachandran manages to guide the students to a historical 100% pass percentage in Class 10 that year. But the journey wasn’t all pleasant, mind you. His perseverance meant convincing teachers to attend the lectures on time and also preventing students from dropping out. Vinayachandran’s attempts at convincing a student who is involved with the local liquor mafia for money, also forms a considerable part of the film.

Life is Beautiful

Malayalam, 2000

Mohanlal as Vinayachandran
Only a few days into his job as a Malayalam teacher at a prominent school, Vinayachandran becomes the students’ favourite teacher in no time, for his unconventional methods of teaching. When he asks his class to write an essay and leaves them unattended, other teachers frown at him for being naïve enough to think that the students wouldn’t cheat. But his teaching methods does manage to strike a chord with the students.

Happy Days

Telugu, 2007

Kamalini Mukherjee as Shreya Madam

In this coming of age film about college life and its many trials and tribulations, Kamalini Mukherjee makes a guest appearance as a gorgeous professor who serves as an inspiration to her students. The students (all played by new faces) are in the most formative years of their lives and they go through many ups and downs together. Shreya Madam, as Kamalini is called in the film, is strict when she needs to be and encourages her students to take their career seriously. Though one of the characters in the film has a crush on her, the teacher's role remains respectful.

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