21 January 2016

Film review: Like Stars on Earth (2007) by Aamir Khan, ****

Taare Zameen Par
Synopsis

Ishaa Ishaan is an 8 year old whose world is filled with wonders that no one else seems to appreciate; colors, fish, dogs, and kites are just not important in the world of adults, who are much more interested in things like homework, grades and neatness. Ishaan just cannot seem to get anything right in class. When he gets into far more trouble than his parents can handle, he is packed off to a boarding school to be disciplined.

Things are no different at his new school, and Ishaan has to contend with the added trauma of separation from his family. A new art teacher infects the students with joy and optimism and breaks all the rules of how things are done by asking them to think, dream and imagine. All the children respond with enthusiasm except Ishaan. The teacher soon realizes that Ishaan is unhappy and sets out to discover why. With time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find himself.

Bonus features (in Hindi only, no subtitles) include: Director's Commentary, panel discussion on children, deleted scenes, making of, Music CD with two beautiful collectible postcards. This film is Aamir Khan's debut in directing.


Review

In this film we see a story of commitment and hope against all odds. The film takes place in contemporary upper middle class India, but the moral of the story is one for all places and all times. The subtitle, "Every child is special" tells it all. Yes there are children with special problems, and they do need special attention in special schools. But there are perfectly "normal" children, capable to become integrated in society like everyone else, who simply need to find their own pace and place to do so.

What they all need is love and appreciation, even for quirky "special" inclinations that they may display and that may arouse scepticism and criticism from "normal" people, especially adults. "If you want to win competitions, then breed race horses, don't raise children, dammit!" says Khan, and sums it up well.

In the end, Ishaan comes out on top, while his "normal", super skilled brother, the repository of the family's expectations of success and achievement, does not.

Ishaan's triumph


Darsheel Safary as seen by his art teacher












You can see my other reviews of films on India here in this blog.






Click this link to buy more films with Aamir Khan.

1 comment:

  1. great movie! It is not only a lesson for the parents, but also for teachers! Every child is special,who requires special attention. The last sentence of the review reveals the ironic aspect of this movie. Bravo!

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