Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par, Aamir Khan’s first movie as a director, is about a boy Ishaan Awasti (Darsheel Safary) and his struggles to fit in to the rigours of the school system. As hard as Ishaan tries, he cannot do well in school, much to the frustration of his parents, particularly his father. It doesn’t help that his older brother is the model child who does well in everything.

Ishaan is shipped off to a boarding school by his father and that’s where he meets a teacher Ram Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) who empathises with Ishaan. The rest of the movie’s about whether Ishaan’s interaction with Nikumbh changes his perception of himself and his parents’ perception of his abilities.

Aamir Khan is brilliant as the art teacher who has a completely different style from his other teachers. He delivers a superb performance, one with controlled emotions that never goes over the top but yet manages to move you. And to think that he stays away from the screen for half the movie and still wows you with his performance is proof of his superior acting skills.

Darsheel Safary as the lead character is okay but sometimes tends to over-act. (Admittedly, I’m setting the comparison bar high by comparing him to child actors like Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment.) Tisca Chopra, as Ishaan’s mother, delivers an impressive performance as the woman caught between her husband’s need for the children to perform and her love for her sons, especially her younger son Ishaan.

But what to make of the movie? I liked it in parts but I wasn’t blown away by it. Yes, it’s a different kind of movie. Yes, the movie has an important message (Every child is special). Even so, it lacks something. The first half of the movie could be considerably tightened by removing some of the unnecesary lingering on Ishaan’s problems. The script writer, Amole Gupte, tried to show the range of problems faced by Ishaan and that slowed the movie down considerably in the first half. Maybe that time could’ve been better spent elsewhere. (I’m probably the only one who felt this way but what can I say?)

The movie has its moments though. There are plenty of funny moments and many more moments for you to exercise your lachrymal glands, if you’re into that sort of thing. Taare Zameen Par is an important movie in the Indian context, especially for parents but it misses the mark on being great.

A worthy first time debut from director Aamir Khan though.

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12 thoughts on “Taare Zameen Par

  1. Hey Percy,
    I just watched this movie. I actually liked it quite a bit…although I do agree there were certain parts of the script that could have been tightened.

    The one thing I do disagree with you is about Darsheel Safary. I thought he was great…

    -murali

    P.S: I just can’t stand Dakota Fanning. Now she really overacts!:)

  2. I was totally absorbed while watching this movie. What I really appreciated is the focus on the small and delicate details of Ishaan’s life. If they had moved quickly over this part I would think the essence of the movie would have been compromised.

    I agree with you that Aamir was great. He is one intelligent actor and director that we have. I also thought Darsheel Safary did justice to the role and portayed an array of emotions pretty convincingly.

    In a nutshell its a ‘must watch’ movie.

  3. Sorry for the delayed response. I hadn’t realised that I didn’t respond to the comments.

    I respect the opinions of the commenters but I’m sticking to my opinion. We’ll just have to agree to disagree I guess.

  4. There are some movies that you appreciate , there are some movies that you like and then there are some movies that you absolutely love!!! I love this movie with all my heart!!!

  5. Pingback: Pages tagged "dakota fanning"

  6. I beg to differ with P. A. Monteiro – Darsheel Safary was absolutely brilliant in the movie! And why are Hollywood actors always used as a yardstick to measure Indian actors’ perfomance?

    Taare Zameen Par is a really well made movie and a definite must see.

  7. And why are Hollywood actors always used as a yardstick to measure Indian actors’ perfomance?

    Probably because I couldn’t think of an Indian child actor to make the comparison. You’ll notice that I’ve said good things about the other actors without making Hollywood comparisons.

  8. It never makes sense to use Hollywood actors to benchmark the performance of Indian actors. Indian culture is substantially different from western culture, and accordingly, the way in which Americans react to situations is different from the way Indians react…the emotions, expressions, choice of words,… they are all different. These differences are and ought to reflected in movies as well. A lot of movies to come out of Bollywood are trashy, but even the best ones may not appeal to the western audience simply because of the way the characters and their emotions are portrayed.

  9. Aditya: Good point, but you’re talking about whether movies reflect the culture and differences of a country or region (they usually do) and whether they will appeal to all audiences (probably not).

    This whole thing (deciding about an actor’s performance) is subjective anyway.

    PS: I saw on the news that Darsheel won an award for best child actor. Good for him.

  10. Its a great movie.. Darsheel is great. Don’t agree with reviewer comment on Darsheel’s ‘over acting’ and ‘unnecessary lingering first half…’ statement. Mr. Monterio need not respond to such views as he will have to write after every posting as is obvious above.

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