Music Teacher does have an important message, but it subjects itself to dullness with an unengaging script.
The main theme of Indian Netflix Film Music Teacher is the feeling of suppressed regret. As Matthew McConaughey says in his famous speech to an eager set of graduate students, “guilt and regret kills many a man before their time”. I’ve read plenty of materials in recent times that suggests clinging on to a painful past can sometimes consume people for years, preventing them from succeeding and securing the life that they want. How wasteful is that? To allow events that have happened, out of your control and manipulation, keeping you in the same rut for many years. For the character in Music Teacher, Beni (Manav Kaul), it’s eight years of feeling that vicious circle of sorrow and pain.
The character is a music teacher as the Netflix film suggests, with the visit of famous singing star Jyotsna Ray (Amrita Bagchi) taunting his mind. He has a history with Jyotsna, being her teacher and helping her becomes the level of famous that he aspired to be. The character is in a setting he looks uncomfortable with; in the mountains, not able to make ends meet, and almost a sense of profoundly ingrained depression.
Music Teacher is all about finding that much-needed closure that can keep nagging on your soul for years, and for Beni, his yearning for a career in Mumbai blinded what he had. It’s an ironic tale of a careerist not getting the career he eagerly requires, and at the same time, missing out on someone he dearly loves, who returns those feelings loyally.
For most of the film, you observe Beni demonstrate his day-to-day routines, with the anxiety of Jyotsna coming to town building up. Beni is a character that does not reveal much, consoling himself to his miserableness; that rut that has helplessly dismantled his spirit for years. As a critical criticism, you could say that the direction of Beni’s character makes an extensive period of the film feel dull and empty. A movie about an unhappy character does not need to make the audience feel disconnected and barren, but that’s what Music Teacher manages to do, and you find yourself waiting for the flashbacks, which is where most of the exposition is based.
The ending of Music Teacher leaves little to ponder either. It’s an empty ending if anything, keeping the same dull, consistent tone that is driven through the entire movie. The saving grace of the Netflix film is that the one scene you wait for, between Jyotsna and Beni, is worth the wait. If the director and writers decided to inject some life into the script, Music Teacher may have been an impactful drama from start to finish, but the lesson you have to take away from it is do not live your life bound to your regrets; it will kill you eventually.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.