I am one of the last living persons to have seen Taare Zameen Par (2007). At least last of those who should have seen it, in good time.
I was sceptical about this movie. I had decided that I will not like this film, before I had seen it. I do that often. Especially, when the world leaves reason aside and applauds in unison. A friend asked me today if I had finally seen it. I have, about a month ago.
In a way its good, that I write this review a month later; I have had time to think about the film. For starters, it is a unique film in the sense that it takes up a fairly obscure issue – dyslexia – as far as Indian films are concerned. Can’t think of another Indian film that has done that. There have been regional movies to take up other issues, Devrai (2004) shines brightly, when I try to remember one, about Schizophrenia.
Then, there is something prescriptive about Indian movies when they take up something unusual — they are tentative between being a documentary and feature film. TZP is no exception. Devrai too, fell in that trap (hugely resurrected by stellar performance from Atul Kulkarni, however). It is expected however, given that a significant portion of your audience isn’t aware of the issue. I am yearning to see it well-meshed in the story. Not a 30-min documentary embedded in a movie. (You cannot forget Akshay Kumar, showing files from the Internet in Bhool Bholaiyya (2007))
Darsheel Safary has given a good performance, no doubt about it; and his pout helps. Aamir Khan is the usual, I noticed more Aamir Khan than Ram Shankar Nikumb. I am not sure what thought went behind the name of the character, if you are Indian, you may agree, the presentation of the character and the name didn’t quite well go together. Then, perhaps, AK wanted to break stereotypes. (A small unobtrusive parallel aside) I thought that Ram Shankar Nikumb suited the Hindi teacher more, than the temporary Art teacher. Talk about being insensitive and stereotypical. Frankly, I found the parents in TZP fairly unconvincing. Perhaps, if this movie was set in the 60s or 70s the parents would have been a bit real, not in 2007. Definitely not, given their social status; there is something contradictory about their characters.
This movie, like any other “issue” movie can be seen in two ways. Like, I Am Sam (2001) (My review pending for that one). You either see the film for the film itself, or use all your faculties to see what is going on. The moment your thinking hats are on, these films fall down like a house of cards on a wobbly table. They are best seen and enjoyed without that burden.
Without that burden of thought, you become sensitive to all that is going on. I have a theory that most people related to the main character in the film because all of us have been dyslexic some time, to some degree. At least one incident in our life is similar to the one in the film. (The earlier you attended school, more the sense of relating) That, is the beauty of TZP. I doubt if I can say anymore about the film.
I saw it without my thoughtful headgear; I enjoyed the film, immensely. On the hour that the film ended, I was overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I could not contain myself. It was truly nice to see a movie that touches you.
This is a rare film and a collectible and a must on your DVD shelf (whenever it comes out!)