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Students' Column

Women in Indian Cinema

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Written by Arundhati Menon

In the early 15th century, women were not allowed by law to act. Smooth faced men or young boys played the female roles. Evidently, that did change. Women started acting and in rather prominent roles and people began to think that the misogynistic industry was becoming pro-women. What they didn’t realize is that it just got worse.

Apart from a handful of movies, the rest are pretty much the same- the compelling, all-powerful male lead and the female who always needs protection. It gets much worse down south where most movies have the heroines in cameos, where their roles are about ten minutes long in three-hour movies. Even in romantic comedies- the heroines are finally blamed for all the issues in the relationships and are made to grovel and beg for forgiveness to the triumphant, proud heroes. After all- most directors down south -and for that matter all over India- are male. Why would they bother about gender equality? Instead they give their free advice about women through their films, calling women ‘domineering’, ‘unpredictable’ and ‘helpless’. This chauvinistic attitude shows very clearly in the usage of dialogues such as- ‘women should keep silence’, ‘women should be modest’, ‘women should keep their head held low’ and other such nonsensical expressions. In action flicks the heroes are immortalized and given super-human powers while the heroines will be standing quietly in the side lines or playing the role of the annoying saboteur.

It is a dismal fact that the Indian film industry- the most popular, powerful, not to mention one of the richest industries- suffers from a male superiority complex. The terms ‘arm-candy’ and ‘eye-candy’ are not only derogatory and insulting, but disappointingly the only way to describe the parts heroines play in majority of the Indian movies.

There are a handful of movies that are women-oriented and portray females in respectable roles, however, how many of those are really there?

The Indian film industry is a jingoistic film industry. It is an industry where young women who are barely 20 are paired with males who are much more than thrice their ages. It is an industry where actors can act till whatever age they please, but actresses have shelf lives. An expiry date. It is an industry where actors can continue acting long after marriage, but the minute an actress gets married, nobody wants to get her to sign even a single movie. It is an industry where even fifteen-year-old girls are made to perform osculating scenes without even the slightest bit of consideration that they are barely eighteen, and still minors.

The presence of such a mind-set is what is holding back the industry from progressing. Women-centric movies have proven to be explosively popular in the past: for example- Kahaani,English Vinglish, The Dirty Picture, Nagaina etc. in the north and the 100 crore film Arundhati from the south.

I really don’t see the use of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema if this basic issue cannot be addressed.

It is very depressing to see such talented actresses having to perform such menial roles out of no fault of their own. It is horrible, completely unacceptable and hopefully temporary.

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Students' Column

How Students Are Learning To Focus Better

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Become a student

Being a student can be tough for a lot of people, and it is certainly something which can often prove to be difficult to do right. One of the main issues that are always going to be happening for students everywhere is that it can be hard for a lot of students to focus on their work for that long. However, this is vital if someone is going to be able to put their all into their work and get the results they are looking for. Here are some of the ways that students are now learning to focus a little better on their studies.

Putting The Phone Down

In many respects, the smartphone is the enemy of concentration – and a lot of students these days are starting to realize it. The simple act of putting the phone down for a while can dratically help anyone to concentrate better and focus on what they need to, so that is something that students are doing more effectively now. It can also help to turn it off or even put it somewhere far away while studying, such as in the other room. This is a great and very important way to focus better right now for students everywhere.

Using Supplements

There are many supplements out there in the marketplace now that are designed to help with concentration and focus. Of course, it can often prove difficult to know which of these are actually worth taking and work well, and which might not be quite so worthwhile. One good example of a supplement that does seem to work well for improving focus is CBD oils such as those at CBDistillery. These can often seem to be highly effective, and they are definitely something that students can consider in order to try and focus a little better each day.

Getting More Sleep

Sleep is a vital factor in how well a person can concentrate. Someone who is not getting enough sleep is going to find that this can drastically affect their ability to focus, so this is another area that many students are starting to look into more and more. In order to get more sleep, however, they might need to make many changes, and it’s something that for some students can simply escape them for quite a long time. However, it is worth pursuing for anyone who wants to be able to focus better on their work.

Setting Up A Distraction-Free Space

Distractions can be all too easy to come across, and this is one of the major ways in which someone is going to often struggle to concentrate properly on their studies. However, the simple solution to this problem is to set up a distraction-free space, which is what a lot of students are now doing, and this does seem to be incredibly effective for a lot of people. So that too is another really important thing that students can attempt in order to concentrate more, and it’s looking like more people are doing this.

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Students' Column

8 Tips On How To Be The Best Teacher

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Being a teacher in a day and age when teachers are constantly being attacked for their inability to educate students can be quite a daunting prospect. Even when teachers try hard, they may encounter parents who complain about what they’re teaching or how they’re teaching it. In any case, it’s always best to learn from those who have been in the trenches before you.

Here Are 8 Tips On How To Be The Best Teacher

1. Get To Know Your Students

One of the best ways that you can improve your teaching is by knowing who your students are and what they want. However, this takes time; it’s something you build through the school year. So begin by getting to know their names as soon as possible – then start learning other things about them: interests, background, ambitions, etc. 

This will help you plan lessons that meet their individual needs and wants, resulting in a more enjoyable experience for both you and them. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you take part in a cpr certification course online, as you never know when it might come in handy.

2. Find Out How Each Student Learns

No two people learn in exactly the same way. Therefore, you should find out how each of your students learns to understand how they absorb information from your lessons. 

For example, some people prefer listening while others prefer reading, some learn best from demonstrations, and others need to see a diagram or image. This will help you plan your lessons so that everyone has a chance to learn.

3. Encourage Your Students To Ask Questions

Students often fail to ask questions after a class because they don’t want to ‘look stupid’ or embarrass themselves in front of the rest of the class. Try to encourage your students to ask questions by emphasizing that there’s no such thing as a silly question – the only stupid question is the one that wasn’t asked!

4. Encourage Group Work Between Your Students

Group work can be an excellent way of helping your students learn. Not only does it help those who find it hard to participate in class, but it also helps those who are more confident as they have to explain themselves and defend their reasoning. With a bit of guidance from you, many classes will soon grow closer as friends and work better together as teammates.

5. Give Regular Feedback On Performance

Giving regular feedback on performance during lessons will help show you what areas each student needs extra tuition in. It will also allow you to give quick guidance on how they can improve their performance next time – saving valuable lesson time.

6. Encourage Your Students To Help Each Other

Utilize peer-learning by encouraging your students to help one another – this not only helps them prepare for the real world but also saves you time when planning lessons. For example, if you need students to research various facts and figures, why not set up groups of two or three? They can then share ideas and resources to complete the work in less time.

7. Reward Good Performance

Everyone responds well to positive feedback, and with careful planning, you can use this in your teaching style to encourage good performance from your students. For example, if someone is doing particularly well in class, why not surprise them with a special reward? It doesn’t need to cost money; examples could include letting them eat lunch first or giving them some extra playtime at break time.

8. Keep Your Class Active

One of the most important things about being a successful teacher is ensuring that your students are actively taking part in all aspects of each lesson. If you feel that some lessons have become too passive, try to inject more energy into your lessons by making them more interactive. This will keep students interested, and they’ll retain more of what you’re teaching.

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Students' Column

Is Writing An Easy Field To Break Into?

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For many of us, the idea of becoming a writer is something that we nurture from adolescence, our love of reading dovetailing with a desire to be heard. It is one of the most romanticized career ideas – just think about how many films and TV shows revolve around one or more writers – and it’s no surprise that student newspapers and magazines are often among the most popular extracurricular activities included on college applications.

What separates writing from many other careers is that there is not always an evident career path. Those of us who dream of one day writing for the newspaper we read scrupulously, or of signing a deal for our first novel, can end up quite disillusioned by the reality of trying to get paid as a writer. And while we’d love to think that it’s not about the money, there’s a great deal of truth in the motto that has become a mantra for so many writers: “I can’t pay my rent with exposure”.

Do you need to secure a regular writing job to make it a career?

If you dream of becoming a writer, you probably have an inspiration, someone who made you want to pick up a laptop and share your ideas for the first time. Chances are, these icons are individuals who can make a very comfortable living from a column per week thanks to a tenured slot at an established media institution, and they’ve “paid their dues”. That’s something that’s getting harder to do, as local newspapers are struggling to hold up in the digital age – making it harder to get a starting job in the industry.

Is freelancing a reasonable alternative?

The idea of being a freelancer can be attractive initially – if you’re not tied to any one media group, you won’t be committed to an editorial line – but it is tricky and guaranteed income is hard to find. It is a good idea to cultivate regular clients. You’ll learn their payment patterns, have the ability to invoice them in one touch through your accounting software, and can establish yourself as a reliable writer. It may not have been how you pictured freelancing, but a good client is worth cultivating – and they may well mention you to other potential clients.

Is starting your own outlet a realistic option?

Writing is a competitive world, and as a freelancer you will always be fighting with other freelancers for what can often be a small amount of work. You may prefer instead to take matters into your own hands by starting your own project. Often, this will begin with a blog; there are ways and means to monetize such a site, but you’ll need followers to make it happen. If you take this approach, social media is also going to be pivotal. Talented writers can still get read these days – and it can lead to higher-level recognition and a stable writing job – but there is still going to be a grind and you’ll need to have the discipline to produce content that is both interesting and regular.

The truth of the matter is that if you want to become rich and have a comfortable living doing something you love, writing is a sector that is filled with potential obstacles and it can be frequently disappointing. However, if writing is what you love, then there are ways and means of going about it – as long as you keep cultivating contacts, it can be a rewarding career.

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