Workshop on Films as a Teaching Pedagogy

A week long workshop & screening on “Films as a Teaching Pedagogy” was organised by VSJMC department, VIPS from 15th July,2019 to 19th July,2019.

Films can be a powerful educational tool in developing critical thinking skills and exposure to different perspectives. The objective of the workshop was to incorporate films into teaching pedagogy by the faculty members so as to create intriguing attitude, to develop interest and connect among students with their subject in classroom teaching, which can help to enhance the adequacy of teaching.

As part of workshop, various films were screened related to various subjects. The faculty members then participated in discussions to share their perspectives, technical aspects, views on various socio-political and contextual aspects. Total number of five films were screened: –

1. Sardar- Directed by Ketan Mehta
2. Dard Ka Rishta – Directed by Sunil Dutt
3. Naya Daur- Directed by B.R Chopra
4. Pyaasa- Directed by Guru Dutt
5. Pushpak – Directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao

Day 1
15th July 2019

The workshop began with Ms. Mrinalini Mehra, Coordinator of the workshop introducing the topic and the relevance of the workshop on “Films as a Teaching Pedagogy”. Dr. Charulata Singh Dean, VSJMC and the Organizing Secretary of the workshop then rendered formal welcome to the guest of honor of the inaugural session Dr. Manoj Sharma.

Dr. Manoj Sharma, Associate Professor, (Modern Indian History), Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi delivered a lecture on ‘Films as a Tool in Media Teaching

Dr. Sharma began his address by presenting the historical backdrop of Indian Cinema and its role during and after freedom struggle. Followed by this various aspect of cinema were discussed right from symbolism to role of silence in depicting and conveying emotions. Various genres of cinema were introduced and discussed with examples emphasising on teaching pedagogy. The participants actively interacted with the resource person.

The lecture was followed by screening of the film Sardar, a 1993 Indian biographical drama film on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India’s greatest freedom fighters, directed by Ketan Mehta and written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar, produced by H.M Patel, starring Paresh Rawal, Anu Kapoor, Benjamin Gilani, and Tom Alter. The film was shown in the context of Contemporary India subject.

After the film screening, a discussion was initiated amongst the faculty members. It was observed that the introductory scenes of the film were quick and incomprehensible until the narrative takes place. The faculty members expressed their views upon the characterization of Patel and how subtly controversies were portrayed without creating much revoke and that the film doesn’t talk much about Pandit Nehru’s crucial role in controlling the partition violence. The session came to an end after the heartful discussion involving diverse perspectives.

Day 2
16th July 2019

The second day of the workshop, started with the screening of the film Dard Ka Rishta. Dard Ka Rishta, a 1982 Indian Bollywood film produced and directed by Sunil Dutt, starred  Smita Patil, Reena Roy and Ashok Kumar in pivotal roles. It was shown in the context of Health Journalism subject.

The screening of film was followed by a discussion amongst the faculty members where they pondered on various aspects of the film. It was observed that the film tried to further the cause of cancer and research in India and that the medical facilities were much more advanced in America in contrast with India in 1982. It was likewise talked about the film was made by Mr. Sunil Dutt as a tribute to his better half Mrs. Nargis Dutt, who was succumbed to cancer in 1981 and that he chose to give his profit from the film to the benefit of cancer patients in India.

The day two ended with an insightful discussion concluded by Chairperson, VSJMC Prof. Sidharth Mishra on various aspects of the film.

Day 3
17th July 2019

Naya Daur was screened on the third day of the workshop. It is an Indian drama film, made in 1957, starring Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Ajit Khan and Jeevan. It was directed and produced by B.R. Chopra, and written by Akhtar Mirza and Kamil Rashid. It was shown in context of Development Communication subject. The film is an exemplary “man vs. machine” story, involving a race between a village tongawallah who rides a tonga horse cart against a landlord who drives a bus.

After the screening, discussion amongst the faculty members took place and it was observed that the film was based on the socialist ideology of Karl Marx. It was discussed that development is inevitable and how machine versus man isn’t right idea and adaptation of machine for man should be followed instead. During the discussion the film was associated with the communication theory ‘Spiral of Silence’ given by Elizabeth Newman where the minority is silenced either by the fear of punishment or isolation. The session concluded with the remarks of Dean, VSJMC Dr. Charulata Singh and Chairperson, VSJMC Prof. Sidharth Mishra.

Day 4
18th July 2019

For the fourth day of the workshop we had the screening of the film Pyaasa. It is a 1957 Indian film, produced and directed by Guru Dutt, written by Abrar Alvi, starring Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, and Mala Sinha. It is a story of a struggling poet who tries to carve a niche for himself in society.

During the discussion faculty members presented their observations regarding the film. It was highlighted how the film has showcased the degeneration of society and how people become selfish and unreal. It was pointed out how symbolism is used in the film which gives a hint of crucifixion. Split lighting was used in the film to express different emotions. The film indicated solid female characters in strong positions who made their own choices in life. The faculty fruitfully got involved in discussing emotional and value-based aspects of the film.

Day 5
19th July 2019

Pushpak was screened on the last day of the workshop. It is a 1987 film, without any dialogues. It is directed, produced and written by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, starring Kamal Hasan, Amala Akkineni, Tinnu Anand and Farida Jalal.

Dialogue less film resulted in highly dialogued discussion. It was discussed that film can be shown to teach non-verbal communication to students. Issues of unemployment and capitalism were handled smartly in the film.

The five-day workshop concluded with the lessons drawn from various films as a teaching pedagogy on which Dr. Charulata Singh and Prof. Sidharth Mishra put emphasis on films as a teaching medium which can be used for generating interest and insight on various issues and problems in the society. The faculty members also gave their feedback and suggestions on the organizing the workshop.