Directed by: Aamir Khan
Most of Indian society believes that for a child to be successful in life, it is imperative that they do well academically. 8 year old Ishaan Nandakishore Awasti (played by Darsheel Safary) lives in such a society, where to be able to draw well is fine but to not be able to back that up with good grades is close to criminal. Taare Zameen Par focuses on how Ishaan, who suffers from Dyslexia, gets buried under pressures to study well. His parents refuse to accept that their kid might actually have a problem and instead blame Ishaan’s attitude towards anything academic.
The movie addresses an important issue and Aamir Khan as Ishaan’s art teacher, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, plays the savior as he tries to bring the little kid back from the depths of despair. One of the most affecting scenes in the movie is when Nikumbh asks Ishaan’s dad (played by Vipin Sharma) what he thinks is the reason his kid continuously fails to get good grades. The father angrily replies that his son has an attitude problem and that he just refuses to learn. When Nikumbh tries to explain that Ishaan might have a reading problem, the father puts down that theory exclaiming that reading English is not hard. Nikumbh picks up a toy box that has instructions written in Chinese and asks the father to read it. As the father starts to complain that he cannot read Chinese, Nikumbh starts shouting at him, blaming his attitude and unwillingness to read. Taare Zameen Par had plenty of such scenes, where it tries to put across to the viewer areas where parents and teachers go wrong when handling children.
One of the strong points of the movie was the impressive acting and Darsheel Safary is definitely a talent to look out for. He was splendid as Ishaan, playing the role of the 8 year old as an 8 year old. There is a tendency for Indian directors to make their child-actors act extra-cute, but Aamir Khan as the director, has done a great job in maintaining the innocence of Darsheel. In a scene, Ishaan’s father is packing for a work related trip and he makes his child believe that he is leaving home forever since he misbehaved. Darsheel shines in that scene as he tears up begging his father to stay and then frowns angrily as his mother (played by Tisca Chopra) tells him the truth. Darsheel’s name appears first in the credits, ahead of actor-director Aamir Khan, and I doubt anyone can deny him of that honor.
Aamir Khan plays a very sensitive teacher who tears up so easily that he needs a moment to calm himself after hearing Ishaan’s story from his parents. He does a very good job playing the role of Ishaan’s mentor and is more like a fun uncle than an art teacher to his students. Credit must definitely go to Creative Director, Amole Gupte, for 2007’s most touching story which is well complemented by very effective acting, and beautiful music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s which is set to Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics that more often than not tug at the heart-strings.
Taare Zameen Par is a successful effort; it shows that every child can be special, if given the opportunity.