Class of rowdies

A short film for teachers and students

Rituparna Biswas and Nitin Das

This article is about a fun film with a simple message on the art of teaching. A must watch for all teachers, students, and parents.

The Background
We were sitting with the HOD – Humanities section at Bluebells International School, observing an anxious parent discuss her reservations against letting her daughter indulge in extra-curricular activities. Countering the teacher’s arguments that suggested the activities’ contribution was towards ‘personality development’ and ‘character enhancement’, the parent believed that extra-curricular, as the name suggests, is extra and not the actual curriculum. She worried how her daughter would find the time to concentrate on what is to be written in her exams if she had to prepare for an extra-curricular competition.

It made us think about the tremendous pressure that school students are under due to the competitive nature of our education system.

A school is a hub of bustling energy. Hopeful, excited, restless, anticipating, anxious. Arguably, every child walking in the corridor, sitting in the classroom, performing on the stage, hitting the ball with a TT racket in the court, submitting a notebook in the staff room is anxious, anxious of the results. The demonic board exams, endless assignments, mandatory participation in competitions, weekly tests, the thought of the skyrocketing college cut-offs together do more than enough to cloud a young mind with doubt and anxiety. Setting new benchmarks in every field becomes a priority. It is important to be the best, for ‘good’ is a word meant for people who are happy to lose. The pressure is so intense that even outsiders like us could feel it as we entered the school premises hoping to attract the busy students to come for our film workshop.

What is a child’s escape from this unwanted stress? Shutting himself/herself in a dark room? Over-eating? Or turning impolite, resorting to rebellion…turning rowdy? That’s where the concept came from.


The Making
It took us a little time to orient the students with what we were doing. They were coming in and going out, multi-tasking all the time, trying to tackle their frenzied schedule. We were patient.

The kids were immensely talented. They were from different classes. Our task was to bring them on the same page so that they looked like a unit, the Class of Rowdies. Some were dedicated and some were apprehensive. But, they all wanted to make a strong impact.

The first step was to make them unlearn whatever they knew about acting and then drive them to learn afresh. This helped them understand their respective characters better. Over the course of two months we created a group that had a lot of fun working with each other. It was a team that understood each other and worked towards telling a wonderful story.

The Film
The film was commissioned by ‘ComMutiny – The Youth Collective’ as part of their on-going campaign of creating empowering spaces for young people. The initiative called ‘5th Space’ aims to showcase ways to create spaces which have a youth centric perspective.

‘Class of Rowdies’ is the story of a young teacher and her transforming relationship with the notorious students of an infamous class as she sets out to adopt a unique method of teaching to channelize their energies. The film holds a simple message of using creativity to transform young minds. It shows that the best form of learning happens when teachers can create a space where students can learn through their own interests.

We hope that it will add to your learning and help you connect with your students better.

Here’s the link to watch the film on youtube:

Do share it in your circles.

Sakshi Bahadur (Teacher)
“A class of rowdies can be an intimidating environment for even those with the strongest resolve. Thankfully, during the making of the film, the students were dedicated towards the final output. These young mature adults have a lot to teach us too.”

Tanya Ghai (Zara)
“(It was) such an amazing experience. (I am) so happy I got a chance to play Zara.”

Leave a Reply