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<i>Rang De Basanti</i> tops Aussie hearts

Thursday, August 31, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): After scorching box office in India, Bollywood flick Rang de Basanti has now found its way into Australian classrooms inspiring thoughts among teenagers down under. The Aamir Khan-starrer about the lives of a group of angry young people has been turned into a topic of discussion at the Beachworth Secondary Government School near Melbourne city. The school has a session on critical appreciation of Indian films during which the children watch the films and discuss them in classrooms, says Susan Thomas of the Banyan Tree School, who was among ten Indian school teachers who visited Australia under an exchange programme recently.

''We were surprised to find Rang de Basanti on the list of Indian films for Class VIII and Class IX students in the school,'' says Ms Thomas. The other Bollywood films, which were part of the package for the critical appreciation, included Salaam Namaste and Lagaan. Not only Indian films, but its poems too have become subjects of critical analysis at the school. ''There was a poem by Sarojini Naidu that the children had to discuss about,'' says Ms Thomas. Amity International School, Noida Principal Mohina Dhar, another member of the delegation, saw Gurinder Chadha's Bend it Like Beckham on the films for critical analysis at the Shalom College in Bundaberg, rural Queensland. ''Classrooms in Australian schools are interactive and developing thinking skills among the pupils is a great priority there,'' says Ms Dhar, who saw a laptop with each faculty member at the Shalom College to help in teaching.

The Indian teachers, who visited schools in Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland during May-June, say while schooling in India is knowledge-based, the thrust in Australia is on developing thinking skills in the children. Also, while nursery admissions have become legal battle in India, schools in Australia register children for admission at their birth, the teachers say. The Australia-India Teacher Exchange Programme is organised by the Melbourne-based Asia Education Foundation and the Australia-India Council set up to promote linkages between the two countries. Twenty teachers from Australia had visited Indian schools in January under the exchange programme.

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