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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Taare Zameen Par - A Review

‘It’s easy to point out problems in this world. It’s difficult to offer solutions.’

The maiden directorial venture by Aamir Khan does ‘that’ difficult part with aplomb.

‘Taare Zameen Par’ revolves around the stifling pressures that a dyslexic child faces in our society, in our times. Ishaan Avasti ( Darsheel Safery) is like any fun loving kid who enjoys catching the odd fish from the gutters, keeps gawking at the mother-bird feeding her fledglings and pick up fights with the domineering bully of the pack when things become too unbearable. Yet, something makes him special. He sees the world through the colourful window of his mind. A fertile imagination gifts him with a creative edge he manifests through the interplay of colours in his paintings. Yet, something ails his progress in academics. Curiously, he mixes up all his spellings, can’t say a ‘d’ from a ‘b’ and ‘9 * 3’ is somehow 3 owing to some cosmic collision only his mind can conjure in its full imaginative inflation. Failure in exams ensues and parents get anxious. The apparent ploy to shirk studies seems to be the only plausible reason to them. Frustrated with umpteen attempts at correcting his ‘flaws’ and his habitual relapses he is sent to a boarding school. The sequence where his mother (Tisca Chopra) turns back to leave him at the mercy of the unfamiliar premises of the boarding school is so beautifully picturised, with the

heart rending delivery of “ kya itna buraa hoon main maa....” (by Shankar Mahadevan) playing in the background that I am sure there are few, if any, people who did not have a tear-drop gracing their eyes at that moment.

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Expectedly, boarding school only makes Ishaan a prisoner of the ‘conventional treatment’ that is meted out to non-performers in our education system. He blots out the cruel world and locks himself in a shell of desolation and pain. The portrayal of helplessness in a child on ‘not being understood’ by people around him is dispensed with a nuanced perfection found only in past masters of cinema. Aamir (along with Amole Gupte) donning the director’s hat for the first time has charmed with his exquisite timing and sensitivity in dealing with the subject which demanded a perceptive depiction along with artistic finesse.

Aamir enters the scene as an art-teacher in the dying moments of the first-half (albeit with a

clowning act with much fanfare which seemed tad redundant) and hopes of resurrection are ignited. Being a victim of dyslexia in his childhood, Aamir identifies the problem in Ishaan. He fights with the principal, and later convinces him that it is only a matter of time before Ishaan can compete with others with a little help and understanding. He devotes his time and energies to address the difficulties that Ishaan is facing and soon the boy shows marked improvement. An ‘Open to All Painting Competition’ becomes the culmination of the mutual success of the teacher-student pairing as Ishaan beats his teacher to bag the first-prize in the competition.

The whirlpool of emotions ranging from despair to joy, from rejection to relief attains a magical crescendo at the prize distribution ceremony. A tearful hug replete with unsaid words of gratitude and affection are so touching that one cannot help but give vent to one’s emotions, hiding in the darkness of the tiers to shed a few tears of empathy.

Repentant and reformed, Ishaan’s father takes him back to his home on a vacation wherefrom a happy ending starts. Both for Ishaan and his family, and Aamir, the teacher.

The smell of success and hope is palpable even when the credits roll.

Prasoon Joshi, take a bow. The ad-man has penned lyrics laden with pathos and a deep understanding of children’s psyche (he says he owes it to his little girl) that has an evocative appeal written all over it.

Shankar is breathtaking with his poignant renditions of songs like, “ tu sab jaanti hai.....hai na maa...” (MP3 provided above), “Mera jahaan...” and the title track.

The trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy has again proved what good quality jamming can produce as the music of the film is a sure highlight which is poised to make a mark of it’s own in the coming days.

Aamir as a director has shown the class expected out of an outright perfectionist like him. The sensitive interpretation of the story is so seamlessly accomplished till the end that one cannot really put a finger on a flaw that glares in its nonconformity with the script. The occasional inclusion of a few ‘symbolic scenes’ (as when Aamir watches a mother and child on a bus) and the comic (but of doubtful necessity) entry of himself as the art-teacher were noticeably deletable. Otherwise, “Taare Zameen Par” is a winner.

Aamir has delivered a success.

Darsheel has outdone Aamir

The child artist has not only done justice to the troubled character he portrays with élan but also etched a niche of special recall within the deep recesses of our minds where childhood memories and their attendant anxieties recline in blissful languor of forgetfulness, almost untouched by the mechanically motivated lives we live. After watching the film every person sitting in the stands who has ever faced a similar problem in his childhood will come to associate Darsheel’s gawky features, his wide expressive eyes and that ear-to-ear grin with his memories and rejoice at his victory at the end of the film, though not his own. That is exactly where the film succeeds, in drawing the audience to think sympathetically on a socially relevant issue.

“Taare Zameen Par” lets everyone take something back to their homes from the theater. A sensitive heart receptive to other’s problems, responsive to a child’s troubles, understanding of a passing disability and most importantly, throbbing with a lasting sensation of triumph.

And to me, that’s cinema.

Good Cinema.


Anonymous said...

It seems that the wait for the best film of the year has finally come to an end with Amir Khan's directorial debut "Taare Zameen Par"...A heartwarming film about a dislexic child and his constant battle with the a world that requires racing horses instead of humanbeings..It is not a film about superheroes, rather how a simple boy with his childlike dreams and fantassies emerges as a superhero...Acting wise the film is definitely class apart.But among all the performances the young kid Darsheel Safry with his immaculate potrayal of Ishaan ,yhe dislexic child ,pulls off a stellar performance that would make any famous Bollywood star proud. Some of the scenes like the one where the young boy silently weeps in the loo of his Boarding school would even make a stone weep..
The songs are extremely appropriate and timed superbly..The songs like "Meri maa" and "Tu dhoop hai.." are bound to give you goosebumps..The most important reason why this film realy strikes a chord in our heart is that all of us have a Ishaan Avanthy somewhere in our hearts..The constant pressure to stay ahead in the race ,the constant struggle to be the first and to be a winner in every respect often makes us machines rather than humans..The situation only exacerbates if you are unfortunate enough to be born with something like dislexia.. All in all Amir Khan has pulled off a certain winner with this extraordinary movie..We look forward to more such films from Mr Khan's stable in the the future !!!

Anirban Sen

ArSENik said...

It is a brilliantly emotional film. I liked it even more than RDB. Aamir seems to be growing with every film - DCH, RDB and now TZP, though acting wise, the film is mostly Darsheel's. However, there were a couple of amazing scenes where Aamir was acting with only his eyes. Reminds me of Sunil Dutt in that scene in Munnabhai when he discovers his son is a fraud. Aamir's humility came to the fore when he rightfully put Darsheel before himself in the credits. The only negative aspect I found in the film was that it dragged just a tad bit in the first half.

Meri Ma brought tears to my eyes, and still does every time I hear the song. And the scenes that I took back with me from the theater were undoubtedly the emotional ones of Tisca Chopra and Darsheel. Vipin Sharma is also very good as the Dad.

I feel Amole Gupte has been kept too much in the shadows and not given enough credit for the concept. Maybe he wants it that way, but I think our media has to shed light on geniuses rather than stars.

Antigone said...

WIAN, you and your brilliant review, Anirban Sen and Arsenik here make me feel that i am missing something really good. will watch it at my earliest.

Amazing Greys said...

nice review for an excellent movie. Just wish they had done away with a couple of songs...