Thursday, 27 December 2007

Tare Zameen Par Review

Cast and Crew
Official Website: Tare Zameen Par
Duration: 2:40 hrs (approx.)
Genre: Social, Kids, Family
Director: Aamir Khan
Story: Amole Gupte
Lead Actors: Aamir Khan, Darsheel Safary
Supporting Cast: Sachet Engineer, Tanay Cheda, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma
Music Director: Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca, Shankar Mahadevan
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

Plot Summary

Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) is a dyslexic, but no one around him knows that. Ram Nikhumb (Aamir Khan) puts his faith in Ishaan and helps him work on his weaknesses and enhance his strengths.


How can anyone not love a movie about children crafted with utmost compassion - children with special needs at that? But, is that the only reason I liked Tare Zameen Par? Absolutely no. What I know for certain is that a strong single-line story is narrated in a extremely charming manner. It is truly uplifting when spirit wins and yet, it is not all about the spirit of winning.

Tare Zameer Par is about a child who suffers because no one around him conceded that he is a slow learner. The beauty of the narration is that the message applies to all children - learning disability or not. How can creativity not deserve a place in academics? It also points a very subtle finger at how we build conformation in our system right at the roots.

The pace of the first half gives you time to think of normal children who are just not academically inclined. The resolution in the second half, however, comes by too quickly compared to the trauma shown earlier. But, I guess, if the point is to show that difficulties can be overcome, you don’t necessarily want to show how difficult it is to overcome them.

About 45 minutes post-interval, Darsheel Safary (Ishaan) said a line which made me realize that he hadn’t said a line in the last hour or so. There I was feeling sorry for Ishaan, feeling like yelling at someone to give him a big hug while I fought this lump in my throat that had been there for the longest time. All this based solely on Darsheel’s expressions and body language!

Kudos to the director for taking this decision and many such with brilliant confidence. And, finally we have a dialogue writer who knows when not to give the actors a helping hand. There are a couple of verbose, preachy scenes. But, they made the point because they were well written.

Aamir Khan’s entry into the movie seemed over-the-top and forced, mainly because it was in absolute contrast with the tone of the movie thus far. But after a little while you realize that you can’t distinguish between the actor/director Aamir Khan and his character Nikumbh. They are both fighting the same cause. Passionately. The other characters serve their purpose as caricatures - stereotypical father, loving mother, understanding sibling, ruthless teacher, and jeering peers.

No matter who or what the focus of the camera is, the love it feels towards its subjects shows in each frame. And, in turn, you fall in love with what you see on screen. Compositions, lighting, angles, colors all work successfully together to engross you and very often to enchant you. The lingering camera might have added a good 10-15 minutes to the run-time. But you will be hard-pressed to point out exact scenes which the movie could have done without. Everything is building character or atmosphere or both.

The songs too contribute to the narrative. The lyrics are sheer poetry. I know, that’s what they are supposed to be, but can’t remember the last time lyrics brought me to tears. “mein kabhi batlaata nahi” kept me speechless (and we all know how difficult that is!). And rock-style guitar strumming to a kids’ song - that’s what I call creative.

Yes, that dash of seemingly inevitable melodrama exists. The side-characters transform for no apparent reason. The climax is exaggerated and is as unrealistic as it could get. However, the aim is to show not reality of life but reality of the condition that this child suffers from. Once you get that, you pardon the make-up a mother is wearing at 6 AM while doing her chores. And anyway, most of this is towards the end, by which time you are willing to forgive. Because, above all else, it makes you think.

When did we grow up? When along the way did we forget what it felt like to be yelled at, to be put down, to be ridiculed? And why did we choose the next generation for revenge? Will we recognize the child in us that is struggling to get out? Will the sensation that the lump in the throat created, stay after the credits roll?

What worked

* The gutter scene in the beginning, beautifully shot!
* Titles - adorable!
* The manner in which the street vendors were captured in the sequence where Ishaan is roaming on the streets.
* The shudder Darsheel gives when the car starts (at the hostel).
* The way Ishaan’s character has developed. You know he is the kind who would hate showing his tears in public and thus refrains from crying when he is hit on his knuckles.
* Portrayal of how color is sucked out of Ishaan, a child whose only true love is colors.
* The scenes in which Ishaan is shown gazing at the scenery - a breathtaking composition.

What didn’t

* How can a school which boasts of discipline allow a parent to interrupt class?
* The principal of the school did not look stern enough to be such a stickler for discipline.
* How come Ishaan became such a sudden favorite at school that he got a standing ovation?


This section lists things that I think are not important
to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, “we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it”. I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

* Teachers announcing marks of 60 children in front of the whole class, as if she was taking a roll call. Where does that happen? Marks usually are kept secret. And even if marks are announced they are just of the highest and the lowest scorers.
* Ishaan wears a uniform that is two sizes bigger than what he needs. Again, superficial things purposefully used to exaggerate situation and evoke empathy.
* Where did Ishaan get money to buy the gola (ice-candy) and take a bus ride? He used his school bus to go home, why would a third grader have money?

No comments:

Post a Comment