Taare Zameen Par

So you don’t believe there’s such a thing as a serious Bollywood movie? Think again. This is what Aamir Khan is for. Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth) was Aamir’s directorial debut, under unusual circumstances. He jumped in as director after they had just begun shooting the film, I believe. If you haven’t noticed yet, I think Aamir is the bee’s knees, so I was really excited to watch this film.

Actually, after finishing watching it, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. It takes a super long time (we’re talking about an hour) for Aamir’s character to show up, and there is so much tension before he does. But re-watching it with the Director’s Commentary (yes! There is a director’s commentary! And it’s Aamir!), I thought about it some more, and decided that I definitely like it. A lot.

Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) struggles with school (and life), although he’s very creative and loves to paint and imagine things. He’s failing his way through 3rd grade (oops, 3rd Standard) for the second time. His parents can’t understand what’s wrong with him. Eventually they decide to send him to boarding school.

At school he sinks into depression. Part way through the term, the school’s art teacher leaves and he is replaced by Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan). Nikumbh notices that Ishaan is depressed (he won’t draw or paint, or even talk except when he has to), and decides to find out what is going on. Nikumbh discovers Ishaan is dyslexic, and decides to help him with his struggles in school, as well as to encourage Ishaan’s remarkable creative abilities.

A lot of effort was put into making you understand what the world looks like to Ishaan, how he really doesn’t see things the same way as other people and is totally lost in school. I think this is really interesting and important. Most of us don’t necessarily know what’s it like to be dyslexic, but anyone can identify with Ishaan’s loneliness and confusion.

Darsheel is impressive. I don’t think I ever felt like he was out of character. To me, his performance was totally believable. For a little kid, this is quite the feat.

Ishaan’s parents were well played (by Vipin Sharma
and Tisca Chopra) as was his older brother (Sachet Engineer).

And of course there’s Aamir. No complaints from me.

I loved listening to the Director’s Commentary. To me it was fascinating. It helped me understand the movie better, and I love hearing Aamir’s thoughts on things. To me his creative process is very inspiring. I really admire him and his work. Aamir is known as “the perfectionist” so it’s interesting to hear from a creative personality who is not only very talented but very, very hard working. (which is why I wish he would start updating his blog again)

The music is quite good as well. It’s by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, my favorite songwriting team. I already posted Jame Raho, but there are others worth checking out as well. Beja Kum is a very well-done video expressing Ishaan’s and his teacher’s frustrations at his “stupidity”, but be warned, Hannah found the letter-spider-thingies kind of gross, so if spiders really bother you, don’t watch. Bum Bum Bole is fun, even if Aamir is kind of disturbingly good at shaking his rear. Of course, in a film like this you must have a song about mothers, and Maa is really quite pretty. I like the Hindi parts of Mera Jahan, (which, incidentally was not composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) but the children singing in English just gets corny (but I do like the action in the video). Favorites are Kholo Kholo, (I just love the chorus) the song at the climax, and the title song, Taare Zameen Par.

To sum up, it may not be a perk you up, make you feel happy without having to think much Bollywood film, but it’s very worth the time. There’s a lot of food for thought, and I would definitely call it inspiring. One simple thing it actually did for me is inspire me to draw a little, which I haven’t done in a while. I got out crayons and drew some simple pictures just for fun. That alone may make it worth my time; that, and discovering that Abhishek was dyslexic as a child. Who knew?



  1. Han said,

    April 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    So far I have called SRK and Anupam the bees’ knees, and now you’ve used it for Aamir. We ought to make an award.

  2. April 14, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    […] In the past ten years or so, he’s been involved in more serious movies, than the typical Bollywood fare, notably Lagaan (which I have yet to see), Rang De Basanti (which I have yet to review), and Taare Zameen Par (which I have reviewed). […]

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