Skip to main content

Taare Zameen Par

Striking the Right Cord

Barely missing the movie on one of my most hectic Saturdays in recent times, I am glad that I finally made it to Regal cinema and watched this masterpiece called 'Taare Zameen Par' (TZP). The movie takes a sympathetic look - or rather the way it should be looked - at dyslexia. Young Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) cannot study like some of the other kids, he is poor in Maths, his language and vocabulary does not make sense nor can he make sense of it all, he does not show his red-inked report card to his parents, does not do homework and bunks classes. Fed up by his antics and his teacher's constant complaints, his parents, especially Daddy, banishes him to a boarding school, much against the little one's wishes.

Enter an angelic arts teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) who observes and identifies Ishaan's problems and mental agony. He takes it upon himself to set things right for the little one by creating a conducive atmosphere for the children and of course Ishaan, simultaneously educating Ishaan's ignorant parents, teachers and principal of the school. The little one slowly comes out of his shell and jells with the 'outside' world.

Neither TZP is a documentary on dyslexia nor it its pace documentarish like Swades'. Though I quite liked Swades and was disappointed it didn't work. But TZP is among the new breed of off-beat Hindi films told in a mainstream manner that unshackles us, raises a stir amongst us, and urges us to rise to the occasion, such as Rang De Basanti (RDB). For the record, I wasn't referring to the assassination in RDB, it was about making a difference in a positive manner despite one's stature and size. TZP's pace is entertaining, at the same time not deviating from the subject. It takes us right into the mind of the troubled Ishaan to show us his hidden brilliance on one hand, and agony on the other of, for instance, what goes in his mind when told to read a line from the textbook.

The movie does take certain liberties and is not without flaws. For instance, I felt the teachers on a whole have been portrayed in a poor light. Yes, some teachers are most certainly like the ones portrayed here, especially the knuckle-hitting nerd teacher (Saluja Singh of Physics and Pingle of Algebra were those teachers for me at my school Hindi Vidya Bhavan), but certainly all teachers can't be so insensitive. The boarding school hostel warden is also unnecessarily stern. I do not think anybody in his position would threaten a fresh boarder and remind him of how 'rowdy' children before him were tamed.

TZP captures many nuances of a typical aspirational family quite well. The constant comparison to the excelling elder sibling, parental pressure to perform, score high marks and forcing their ambitions of becoming a doctor, engineer, etc on their children and 'training' them like as if they were some assembly-line products, are just some of the incidents thrown at you. It reminds us of our own childhood to a large extent.

The good part is that TZP balances entertainment and education evenly and manages to strike the right cord in you. Performances are excellent. The kid Darsheel who plays Ishaan is a rare find. It is to TZP's director Aamir Khan and creative director Amol Gupte's credit that they zeroed in on Darsheel to play the part, out of thousands who had applied for the audition. His performance is flawless, he makes you laugh and cry all along the way, his mannerisms, his fear, his happiness, his confusion, his agony, his plight, he just takes you alongwith him, all along. His is one of the best performances I have seen in a long, long time. Aamir Khan is as usual brilliant and gives yet another winning performance, though gladly this time he takes a backseat and lets Darsheel paint the entire canvas on his own, taking charge.

TZP is a must-watch. It's one of the best movies I have seen in recent times.

Rating: * * * * *


Popular posts from this blog


As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Pay Credit Card Bills Through ATMs

Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a new credit card by HDFC Bank. It's another thing that HDFC Bank promised me a gold card with a higher spending limit, but then threatened to give me a silver card. When I strongly protested to their ways, they issued me a gold card, but with a much-lower-than-promised spending limit. I think the credit card companies ought to be made more accountable through stricter laws that are widely publicised (I recently read an RBI advertisement in the paper that if a credit card company rejects your application for a credit card, it has to give the reasons in writing; I never knew that!!!) and ought to made to pay for promising one thing, but delivering something totally different. SBI Cards too chased me for a month last year and promised to give me a platinum card with a high spending limit. What I finally got was a much-watered down Gold Card with …

My first ever Rajdhani experiance

As a kid, the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express used to be this legend that I dreamt often. Although train travel was an integral part of my childhood, Rajdhani remained a distant dream. A dream that only zipped past me at 120 km/hr overtime I saw it. A dream that announced it arrival from a great, great distance by the sounds of twin diesel locomotives and its generator cars at either sides of the rake. A sound that was as intimidating to rail enthusiasts like me as a Bullet motorcycle is to a biker. In those days, it used to be hauled by two diesel locomotives so that it wouldn't need to spend much time at Vadodra station changing its locomotives. One of the two diesel locos would detach itself from the train and the other one who simply haul it al the way to Delhi. When I used to go to Valsad during some of my summer holidays at my cousin's house, it was a ritual. Take a picnic basket, leave the house at sharp 6, go to the yard just before the station, position ourselves on…