Stars Amidst Us

taare.jpg“It’s an Aamir Khan production, so it goes without saying that the acting is so real – It’s a heart-wrenching movie – It swept everyone’s hearts and even the box office off their feet – the movie is a must see- a reality – for all age groups” – and blah and blah! Those could have been the phrases I would have used had I decided to write a movie review for ‘Taare Zameen Par’ but when I sat to do so, I stood face to face with my inability to do justice to it. The sheet lay white as ever, but nothing really came to my mind and there were many unanswered questions that made me restless.

The movie is a physical reality- a mirror image of childhood. Childhood is meant to be carefree, curious and confused, which should be left open to explore, imagine and paint the canvas with one’s own colours. That’s how eight-year-old Ishaan Awasthi saw life, dipping his feet into the mucky drain just outside his school to scoop up tiny tadpoles. He liked to sketch and paint and draw. Colours spoke to him, but alphabets and numbers didn’t. He flunked tests, and got into trouble with his teachers. Slowly, his life started to spiral out of control. Ishaan comes across as a real, living child who struggles to make sense of things, which are so ridiculously simple for other kids. First-time actor Darsheel Safary, all buck teeth, expressive frowns, and wide smiles, although seems to light up the screen but this innocence tells a story of the millions of Ishaans in this world and the struggles they all are compelled to go through.One doesn’t have to be a dyslexic child to identify with the world that is created- a world of imagination, of colours and that of innocent wonder and simple joys of nature. Certainly all of us, who were ‘normal’ as children, remember staring in fascination at fish swimming in a fish tank or at birds feeding their young? And each one of us has spent hours near water, trying to make paper boats float! We have all stared out of classrooms at birds and trees or doodled on pieces of paper while teachers droned on.
It is not uncommon to come across children suffering from dyslexia. It is a syndrome, or phenomenon for all those who are not autistic or abnormal, but might be a threat for those suffering from it due to lack of understanding from parents and society.We must realise that the child is not at fault in such circumstances. He deserves as much love and affection as any other “normal”child. When he needs the society to support him, the social system tends to mock. When he proves to be a ‘menace’, he is sent away from home to a boarding school. What goes on in an impressionable mind, which is reluctant to be sent away from home — insecurities, fears and concerns? When he dreams of the future, his vision is darkened with the reminder of his incapacity to become successful and be able to achieve the stereotype profession of doctors and engineers. When he tries to broaden his horizons, his imagination is restricted to the size of a classroom table.The most disheartening aspect of such a child in the movie is when Ishaan’s best friend finds him high on the railings of the terrace on his boarding school, looking down into the dizzying depths below with hollow, hopeless eyes. His world of imagination, of colour, which was all that he had, to cling on to, also seemed to betray him. Ishaan commences to sink into a black hole, helpless and full of despair, which is when his art teacher, Nikumbh comes across as his guiding light, reaching out to pull him back. To imagine the state of a child so desolated scared me to the bones. Is it fair? What happened to the rights of equality even for children (not that it successfully prevails for the above-18)? It is disheartening to see that society discriminates such a young child on basis of autism, which is nothing but a neural weakness. Why doesn’t the world just create a comfortable and secure place for every child? The last scene is where the message of hope disguised all through, comes across when Ishaan runs back to his teacher’s arms; before he leaves for home, and after striving to create his own special place and to prove himself; he is thrown into the air and he spreads his wings – “Every child is special!”.

A beautiful imagination on the canvas

completed with your sign,

do not care what the world may say,

just paint your own design!

Tania Gupta