The movie is a complete tear-jerker!!! A heart-warming tale of an eight-year old boy (Ishaan) suffering from dyslexia strangled in a whirlpool of insults and verbal abuse from his friends, teachers and parents.
The antagonist, which has essentially been portrayed as the society in which we live, emphasizes competition and aims at preparing children for the rat-race and nothing more. The special talents and gifts of children are ignored as they are considered to be immaterial for success in the ruthless competitive world. Thus, Ishaan who dreams of planets and fish unfortunately also sees letters dancing such that he is unable to understand anything taught to him. His parents and teachers continuously punish and verbally abuse him, shattering his confidence in the process. His father who refuses to believe that his son is a child with special needs sends him to a boarding school. Ishaan is subjected to an even harsher system of verbal abuse and beating. Ultimately he detaches himself from everyone and stops speaking altogether.
It finally takes an art teacher with out-of-the-box thinking (Aamir Khan), to make everyone realize that every child is special. He is emotionally connected to the child due to his own experience of dyslexia. Thus, through exceptional examples of famous people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Edison and many others he is able to restore the lost confidence in the child. Through creative methods and a process of devoted teaching, Aamir is able to teach the child to distinguish between a B and a D and other such letters to accomplish the larger goal of carving a niche for him in the world of the so-called “Normal” people.
Finally, a painting competition is organized to bring out his (Ishaan) creative talents to the forefront. Everyone is spellbound by his painting skills and he finally emerges victorious among the huge crowd of “normal” people. For the first time in his life, he wins acceptance from the people around him all because of the art teacher who took upon himself the task of making a difference.
The world is abounding with such creative potential. The task at hand is to look beyond the profit-motive and to encourage such talent.
The relevance of the theme makes the audience connect with the film instantly. The performances are truly life-like. Newcomer Darsheel (Ishaan) seems to have an aura of perfection all around him. Aamir Khan could not have had a better directorial debut!!! The movie steps out of the confines of the traditional Bollywood themes and manages to entrap everyone in its charisma.