Taare Zameen Par….NGO Film!

taare-zameen-par.jpgAfter watching the film, the impression that is permanently entrenched in your mind, long after you leave the hall, is that of the child Ishaan Awasthi (probably one of the best performances by a child ever in Indian cinema). The actor Darsheel Safary is brilliant as the eight-year-old dyslexic kid, who just masks his inability to read or write with pretence of disinterest and disrespect. Of course there are times when he does look a bit contrived especially at the first half of the season, but then that would be nitpicking. And this is I believe the most important and popular part of the film. After watching this film I was left thinking that Taare Zameen Par has that one thing that lacked another well-intentioned film, released not so long ago: Khoya Khoya Chand; and that is a good script. Amole Gupte, the writer does a brilliant job in creating flesh and blood characters that are instantly relatable and a strong, crisp screenplay. The film’s main strength lies in this and director Aamir Khan knowing it well does not try to divert too much from the script.

And here is what disappointed me with TZP. Aamir, the director does not seem to have a personal style or approach to filmmaking and at the end the film wouldn’t have been very different if any other director would have directed it. By this I don’t mean fancy cinematography (ala Sanjay Gupta) or imaginative and loud treatment (think Bhansali?). It is that quality that separates a Mrinal Sen from a Shyam Benegal or a Yash Chopra from a Karan Johar, even though they make similar type of films. As a film enthusiast, I personally feel every good director should have a distinct individual style, which separates him/her from the rest. But I was fondly reminded of my father who said when he heard of the theme of TZP, that Aamir was now more of a campaigner. Yes, that is what I would call TZP, a good, well-intentioned film but totally NGO type. Aamir is good as the teacher who first notices signs of dyslexia in the child. He gives an expected restrained performance and does justice to his role. Tisca Chopra as Ishaan’s mother gives a good shot as well. But the supporting performance that really catches your eyes is that of Vipin Sharma as the father who cannot imagine his child’s behavior and characterizes the reactions of parents anywhere. The scene in which Aamir confronts the father with his child’s actual problem, Vipin holds his own space despite the heavier part being given to Aamir. At the end, Taare Zameen Par comes across as a beautiful, emotional and heart-warming film that will certainly appeal to everyone despite its drawbacks. It has the definite ingredients for a good film; a good script backed by good, solid performances. Its definitely one of the best films that have been released in 2007 and I suggest you better go and catch it.

Anupam Dhar