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Touch the sky: Taare Zameen Par Friday, 17 April, 2009

Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood.
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Was I that bad, Mom ?

You had been a child, do you remember that?

When did you last remember your school?

When did you last think of your childhood friends, your pranks & your punishments?

Do you listen to what your kid says?

Which one of the last movie made you cry?

If you haven’t done any of the above, TZP will do all this to you & more. If you are a parent who’s bringing up his/ her kid(s) or if you just have a sensual heart, you can’t stop your tears, watching this movie. I saw the movie with my Mom, my wife & my 7-year-old and everyone could associate with this movie in some way.

I found the movie closer to my heart, probably because I was a grossly difficult child or because of my love for painting or may be it reminded me my responsibilities as a dad now.

TZP is a movie directed & produced by Aamir Khan, his debut effort behind the camera.

Storyline

Ishaan (Darshal Safary) was different from any other child of his age of 8 years. Apparently, he seemed a grossly disobedient child, who would always end up being on the wrong side and getting beaten by his dad or yelled by the teachers. Only animals and colours seem to interest him and he loves to stay in his imaginary world. Enhanced by the fact that his elder brother is the topper and a sports champ, his dad gets dejected and admits him into a boarding school.

Being away from his parents and grossly misunderstood by his teachers, Ishaan sulks in pain and goes into a deep solitude. Then comes a temporary Art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan), who recognizes Ishaan as a dyslexic kid, makes special efforts to study his past results, including meeting up his parents. He eventually builds a strong bond of love & understanding with Ishaan, convinces everyone about his capability and let everyone know the Ishaan, what he is.

Every Child is special

That’s the theme of this movie. The movie centers on the protagonist Ishaan and the movie belongs to him. Darshan Safary as the dyslexic, imaginative and creative child is superbly natural. It’s his expressions, which keeps our heart tormented and pained over and over again.  Aamir Khan’s debut as director proved his mettle. His presence, behind the camera is probably better than in front of it.

I bet, Ishaan will force every viewer to remember the small happiness we had as a child. The small poodle of water to jump on before boarding the school bus, the broken crayons, the stray dog who was the best friend, punishment to stand outside the classroom, the imaginary fights in shower and most importantly how we wanted to be understood by our parents and teachers, to leave us alone and let us do what we loved.

Pain & painting

The first half of the movie is set in Mumbai which beautifully depicts the rush and stress in the life of Ishaan’s family; his villainous no-nonsense laptop hugging dad (Vipin Sharma), an affectionate mom (Tisca Chopra) who’s torn between love, responsibility and worry for her children and a loving brother Yohaan (Sachet Engineer). The entire first half is dedicated to Ishaan, his school and his family to establish his character through elaborate and extremely detailed scenes of his house, school & neighborhood.

During the second half, the movie is confined into the picturesque New Era boarding school at Panchgani. Aamir khan as Nikumbh the art teacher and Tanay Chheda (remember the kid in the remake of Don?)  as the best friend of Ishaan will remain memorable for their performances. The Art mela scene with a humongous number of kids must have been a nightmare to organize, but is a visual treat.

During the entire movie Art in the form of paintings is projected as a therapy to free one’s mind & let the imagination fly. Isn’t it beautiful to see child paint?

What touches the heart

The best part is the convincing portrayal of a kid who’s just happy in his own imaginary world. All he wants is to stay in there, happy & content. Darshal Safary is just perfect as a different kid. It is to be noted that he doesn’t have much dialogues to say in the movie. But his expressions in various situations- at school, in front of his dad, with his friends are deeply touching. Shots on him while taking the fish out of drain, digging his nose or just staring out of his classroom window to a poodle of water is done extremely detailed way. Aamir as a director did a wonderful job.

Tisca Chopra wonderfully enacts the loving mom, especially when Ishaan is left alone at the boarding school. The background song “Ma” with touching lyrics like “kya main itna, bura hoon , ma?” brings tears to the eyes.

The movies’ music is absolutely great by SEL. Each song contains simple but immensely meaningful lyrics. Prasoon Joshi’s wordings are magical; each song has its own theme, context & story which is beautifully picturized either in a background like “Ma” or “Jame Raho” or more upbeat and vivid ” Bam bam Bole”. The sweet title jingle “Taare Zameen Par” lingers forever.

The title credits at the beginning of the movie are brilliantly detailed with floating fishes, kites, colourful creatures which is a treat to watch. After Satyajit Ray’s Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne, I don’t remember any director to spend so much time & effort in a children’s movie title. I highly recommend the readers to take their seats as early as possible to avoid missing the start. Similarly, at the end when the title credit rolls, alongside video clippings of children with their mundane actions kept me and rest of the audience standing and immovable. At the end, the full house started clapping, eyes still moist. The movie had a standing ovation on first day last show in that premium Mumbai multiplex.

The shot where Aamir convinces Ishaan’s dad by asking him to read the Chinese letter’s on a toy box is marvelous. Strong messages of the movie told in an impactful way. All we need to spend is time with our kids with a little bit of patience to treat him special.

What does’nt…

Aameer Khan is known as a meticulous artist with a perfectionist bend of mind. The movie clearly expresses so; shots were done with precision detailing, usage of colors and music to convey a message. However, I felt at few places things were a bit over dramatized, some just prolonged the movie without much value addition.

I felt the dad character (Vipin Sharma) was projected little too heartless and brutal. I refuse to accept the fact that, in contemporary nuclear family scenario dads can afford to be that idiotic. Probably this was done to create sympathy towards Ishaan, which was unnecessary and overdone. Same logic goes to the cruel art teacher, who unbelievably uses the ruler to force his students to concentrate. Objection Overruled.

The mother bird clip feeding her babies was inserted from the archive. Nikumbh’s bus journey and shots of the co-passenger baby’s diaper change could have been edited too. Nikumbh’s love for kids was evident from one of the lovely shots, where he treats the chhotu with chai-biskoot on the highway.

I would have rated this movie with 5 star, otherwise. Half a star goes to the painting of the smiling face, which can be of your kid or mine.

ps: Folks who want to know more about the movie before watching it do visit the lovely official website . One can play the songs & read the lyrics with English translations as well.

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