More than just a film: 'Rang De Basanti' is helping Ukraine kids learn Hindi
The movie's portrayal of Indian youth combined with its history-driven plot makes it the perfect tool to teach Hindi.
According to the professor who was one of the speakers at the recently concluded Tagore International Festival 'Vishwa Rang', there is nothing like a "good Bollywood movie" to help students learn Hindi.
"Learning Hindi also means introducing students to the great land of India, its quintessential culture and more. Hindi movies does all of this.
"There you have youth conversations, some typical Indian cultural things, in certain cases village surroundings, and of course Indian custom and rituals too, presenting the students a perfect mix and match of modern Hindi and its roots," Botvinkin, who speaks Hindi fluently, told PTI.
He has also translated a Ukranian poem "Forest Song" by famous poetess Lesya Ukrainka to Hindi.
While "Rang De Basanti" is certainly one of the most watched Bollywood films at the university, he said screenings were not limited to "big banner" and "star-studded" films.
"We screen films that might not be so popular or if I can say 'appreciated so properly' among Indian audiences. To give an example 'Na Ghar ke na Ghaat ke' is another movie which is being shown to students here for some time now," he said.
"Na Ghar ke na Ghaat ke", which released in 2010, stars Rahul Aggarwal, who has also directed the film.
"It is about a village boy who comes to Mumbai in search of a job, and demonstrate the clash of different cultures -- the typical rural meets urban sort," Botvinkin informed.
A Hindi movie buff himself, the academic is a huge fan of actor Nana Patekar, particularly "Wajood", which also stars Madhuri Dixit.
"He is a very strong character. His voice, personality, way of speaking dialogues ... all are so good and unique," he said as he went on to recite Patekar's monologue from the 1998 film, "Kaise Bataon Main Tumhe Mere Liye Tum Kaun Ho".
Picking up the language solely from films, however, Botvinkin said, can have "funny" outcomes too.
He recalled an incident where one of his students proposed to a classmate over a text message in Hindi, saying "Main tumse pagal hoon", in an attempt to literally translate, "I am crazy about you".
"And it didn't end there. The girl, who in her fine wisdom, also replied in Hindi, ended up making it only funnier.
"She said, 'Koi baat nahi main ek ladki ko jaanti hun jo tumse bhi paagal hai'. She was talking about herself here. The proposal was accepted, Hindi not so much, I guess," Botvinkin said.