HYDERABAD: Art used to be a subject where many students sought ways to escape. All we did was follow the teacher’s instructions, which often stifled our creativity. However, Geetha Bhascker Dhaassyam, CEO of Indfame and a multifaceted artist, has revolutionized the art class experience. Her visual art course ignites creativity in every child. We caught up with her to delve deeper into this innovative approach.
Geetha Bhascker, also known as the mother of Tollywood director Tharun Bhascker, shared her incredible journey and interests. She mentioned, “I never aspired to become a teacher, but circumstances led me to it. I hail from Chennai and moved to Warangal after marriage, where I faced language barriers. Despite speaking Telugu in Chennai, the dialect was different. I encountered challenges; people made fun of my Telugu. Even when I switched to English, there were judgments. Financial stress due to my husband’s resignation pushed me into teaching at a school. Working at Hyderabad Public School as HOD of art demanded improved communication skills, yet I struggled with Telugu.”
Further adding, “My husband encouraged me to be independent, avoiding traditional jobs. Balancing ends meet, I found joy in teaching at the same school as Tharun. However, in 2007, I resigned and joined a leading publication as an education consultant. Growing attached to students, Tharun felt neglected at times, as I immersed myself in my work.
Despite being a comfortable student, I noticed art lacked attention in schools, particularly in the brief 40-minute art classes. I developed a specialized art programme adaptable to school curricula, aiming to address this gap. Currently, we have around 12 schools lined up for our program. I’m proud to have young team members as facilitators, including former students. This initiative embodies my passion for visual art.”
Speaking about her book, she shares, “My son always encouraged me to document my recipes. Earlier, at my husband’s insistence, I wrote a book called ‘Upbringing,’ though it remained a Xerox copy without publication. A professor at Nizam College offered me the opportunity to teach grammar to students and helped edit and publish the book. Later, I started jotting down recipes, prompted by my son’s interest in dieting, even though he’d often fall out of it. He urged me to compile the recipes I made for the family, which were basic yet essential. Sensing the potential in these recipes, I felt inspired to write about them. On November 5th, I presented him with a dummy of the book as a birthday gift during a get-together for his movie Keedaa Cola.”
Expanding on the art course, she explains, “Once I approached schools with this course, they began realizing its significance. The 40-minute art period, often allocated once or twice a week, holds immense value. While schools hire talented art teachers, there’s a need to foster talent and instill skills in students. Many schools stick to conventional domains, but this course offers a transformative approach. Art teachers can introduce diverse subjects, encouraging students to explore under Tharun’s guidance, given his artistic talents. We’re fortunate to have Papa Rao sir, an enthusiastic IAS officer, collaborating with us.
Telangana’s Cultural Department has pledged certification for our programme, which spans 300 hours over six months. This course is comprehensive, encompassing various aspects. It’s within the art class that students encounter diverse perspectives and delve into social, life, and soft skills through artistic expression.”
Addressing all students, she imparts, “Embrace art not merely as something visually pleasing on a wall but as a means to foster your individuality. Infuse your artworks with creativity that reflects your unique perspective.” Reflecting on her artistic inspiration, she shares, “Leonardo da Vinci remains my greatest influence due to his holistic approach to art.
He intertwined art with extensive studies beyond mere painting. Picasso, through his art, conveyed his mother’s emotions, while William Hogarth utilized art as a tool to raise social awareness. Each artist had their distinct style and purpose.”