In short, the movie is evocative, overwhelming and yet realistic.
The directorial debut of Aamir Khan takes shape with the adventures of an 8-year old boy, Ishaan Awasthi. Though people around him are unable to fathom his fascination for the nature, he chooses to dwell in his own world. He has a fetish for painting and possesses an imagination above-par, but he repeatedly struggles with alphabets. His memory fails to support him every time he needs to ‘perform well’ in the school and this results in a cavalcade of letters of complaints, addressed to his parents. To set things right for him, his father, who believes that the idea of a ‘bright future’ dwells on a rigorous routine and hard work, decides to send him to a boarding school. His mother (Tisca Chopra) isn’t fully convinced, but gives in to her husband’s whim with some trepidation. Yohaan Awasthi, who is Ishaan’s brother, is a prodigy and his academic excellence is used as a yardstick for measuring Ishaan’s performance. After the first few anxious days at the boarding school, Ishaan meets Nikhumb Sir- and hence, life takes a turn for the wonder kid.
The plot is conventional- the story involves typical parents, who see their own extension in their children and hence, desire to fulfil their own aspirations through them. Aamir Khan features just before the intermission and plays the ‘God-sent-peacemaker’ for Ishaan’s family.
The songs are well-timed and the use of animation beautifully brings out the child’s imagination. The use of light is more or less perfect. The actor placement, especially after Ishaan is sent to the boarding school, successfully brings out the relational effect of the actor with the two dimensional space. Most of the movie seems to be shot with a steady camera and the use of some close shots of Ishaan effectively portrays emotions.
The portrayal of characters is very realistic. Viewers would not only relate to them, but would be able to find a part of Ishaan in themselves; one which they have outgrown, or deliberately allowed to be overridden.
Though the movie is able to hold attention to quite an extent, some shots after the intermission could have been done away with. The soundtrack is more or less appropriate, except during a particular sequence of an art competition. The movie could have had a broader focus, one which could have encompassed several students who have interests other than academics, instead of focussing only on children with dyslexia. Though it does touch upon the wider perspective here and there, but the focus essentially remains on children with special needs.
Throughout the story, an attempt to sensitise the viewers towards differently-able children is evident. The film also poses a big question on the way our education system operates. Even though the ills of it are conspicuous, they are often ignored for pursuing the mad race- one which keeps defining the path, but sets no meaningful end.
The movie shall persist in the minds of the viewers for a long time. All for its simplicity of expression and its power to overwhelm you. If you haven’t yet seen it, make sure that you soon experience this thought-provoking and evocative masterpiece: Taare Zameen Par.