Taare Zameen Par : Movie Review

After a long time, I saw the first day first show of a movie (courtesy Project Team Outing) and in the end I was pretty happy that this movie was chosen. Not just because it was a good movie; but also because, for a change, everyone in our project team liked the movie (which is very hard to happen as I have seen in the past).

It's a nice, simple movie about a kid who faces some trouble in keeping up with the regimentation and competition that has become a part of everyday lives of children (and adults as well) now. In the movie the kid is dyslexic, but it may well happen very easily with kids who are not facing this problem but just not that inclined towards subjects which parents traditionally find suitable for a good career.

The movie mostly belongs to the kid Ishaan Awasthi (played very well by Darsheel); and the first half is completely his own. He carries the movie pretty well and I am pretty curious to see if he will be nominated in the Best Actor category in the 101 award functions that are about to start as soon as the new year comes.
His trauma and problems are established very well by the director (a job well done by Amir) in the first half even at the cost of looking repetitive. Many times I felt that the camera was overstaying at the kid's face, but it did help in building up his character, even if it did make the movie a bit slow. The song Mera Jahaan has been picturized very well; especially the way the street vendors have been depicted (though I did wonder how did the kid get his hands on money given that he takes the school bus to school and back). The way he handles his Maths problems in the class test has traces of Spaceman Spiff written all over it, which fits because Calvin is one of the most well-known misunderstood kids. His fights and attempts to hide from peers that he finds it difficult to read/write is something most of us would identify with at some level. His trauma does not end with fight, pressure and being mis-understood. He is finally packed off to a boarding school when it is felt that he strictly needs a dose of discipline; which ends up almost stifling him until life sends an unconventional art teacher Ram Nikumb (played well by Amir) to rescue him; which marks the start of the second half.

The more time Amir had spent in establishing the problem, the lesser he has invested in  portraying the solution; which ends up looking too simplistic, something Munnabhai would have done. But still, to find fault at this stage would be like nit-picking so I'd let it go (along with the couple of places where Mr Nikumb gets preachy). The climax again tries to play on the emotions of the viewer and looks too simplistic, though the song Tu Dhoop Hai is in the league of Robaroo from Rang De Basanti.

Performance-wise, everyone has done a good job. The kid (Darsheel) and his mother (Tisca Chopra) stand out. Amir has raised the bar so much from himself that this kind of a performance is routine for him now (although Amir the director is a good story-teller). The movie's camera work and art direction is something everyone will take notice of, it really stands out.

Two expressions of the kid that really stayed with me (for some time only :)) were:

  1. when he realizes his father had been teasing him about leaving the house.

  2. when he realizes that everyone is calling out his name for coming on to the stage.

It's a good watch, I'd recommend it.