Every Child is Special – thus goes the tagline of the latest Aamir Khan flick at the turnstiles – Taare Zameen Par and the movie does full justice to it. It is one of the more memorable movies in recent times and everyone in the audience is sure to identify with it on some or the other level. It is not a movie for children but more like a movie about children. In fact, if at all we would have to define a target audience, it would have to be the grown-ups – parents, especially. For the movie is a sort of an eye-opener to them. It is common in India for parents to have unduly high ambitions for their children and in an attempt to channelize all the kids’ efforts into realizing such ambitions and dreams, most often than not the parents forget about the kids’ own choices and interests. As is being said in a popular TV ad nowadays – hamare desh mein doctor ka beta doctor aur neta ka beta neta (in our country, a doctor’s son turns out to be a doctor and a politician’s son turns out to be a politician) and in pursuit of such goals, the children have to suffer the ignominy of burying self-ambitions. Taare Zameen Par takes this notion and makes a sincere effort to debunk it and advocate the idea that every child is special and has special talents within him/her. It urges the parents to recognize it, tap it and nurture it throughout the child’s upbringing.
Ishaan Awasthi [Master Darsheel Safary – Extremely Good] is a kid who is perennially lost in his own little world. Studies, Homeworks & progress reports are zilch for him. All that enraptures his attention are the myriad colours of nature and the little joys all around. Consequently, he remains in the same standard at school and never improves; in fact he doesn’t even make an effort to improve. His Mother [Tisca Chopra – Superb] dotes on him and always makes an effort to get him to study properly but to no avail. Riled by his behaviour and apparent lack of interest and a maverick attitude, Ishaan’s father packs him off to boarding school. Ishaan’s protests and cries fall on deaf ears and that benumbs his entire attitude. His disinterest grows with each passing day in solitude and even the colours that used to so excite him previously, feel lifeless to him. Enter Ram Shankar Nikumbh [Aamir Khan – Fantastic], as an art teacher who allows the kids imagination to run scot free. He notices Ishaan’s stoic silence and quickly realises that he is Dyslexic. He also sees a streak of the artist within Ishaan and slowly works with him to tap his potential artistic talent and use that as a means to learn the other subjects. He aptly points out that Ishaan just has to score pass-marks in the other subjects; his true calling lies elsewhere – Art.
Aamir Khan has always been referred to as the perfectionist. As an actor, he has been notoriously meticulous and always hard working. He has also been a successful producer in recent times. With Taare Zameen Par, he dons the new hat of a director and boy, he churns out an absolute strikingly perfect movie! His eye-for-detail is evident in almost every frame. Be it the doodles in Ishaan’s room or the sibling camaraderie between Ishaan and his elder brother or the poignant family scenes, all of them convey meticulousness and what’s more, everyone in the audience identifies with them so easily. As an actor, Aamir has put in a good performance but the real scene-stealer is master Darsheel Safary. He manages to convey the angst of Ishaan so poignantly that one can’t help but marvel at his performance. He has few dialogues but he lets his eyes and emotions do the talking. His debut performance should put other high-profile debutantes to shame! We’ve seen Tisca Chopra as a scheming housewife in many a soap operas but in TZP, she puts in quite a commendable performance as Ishaan’s mother.
The songs are also good, if not foot-tapping. Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics are very meaningful and soul-stirring. Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is good. The title song – Dekho Inhe, Aamir’s entry song- Bum Bum Bole and the background song – Kholo Kholo are the pick of the lot. The pace of the movie, especially in the first half is somewhat slack and tends to get boring at a time. But Aamir’s entry exactly at the intermission does brighten up things. Amole Gupte should get much of the credit for the story even though it is Aamir’s story-telling that takes the cake at the end. Some of the scenes do stay with you long after the movie has finished and that truly stands out as the movie’s strength. There were also some scenes which leave one deeply moved and moist-eyed. And at the end of it all, there was tumultuous applause – a standing ovation. And the movie entirely deserves it. Go watch it at any cost!
P.S: There was one scene which maybe is “inspired” from Calvin and Hobbes – Spaceman Spiff