Last night, the whole family watched Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par
(which is actually my second time). This was the second Aamir Khan- starred
Indian movie we viewed, the first being Three Idiots. It's a story of
friendship, school life and living up for your dreams. Despite 3 Idiot's
three-hour running time, we enjoyed the story as well as the song-and-dance
routines interspersed with every important scene. My favorite was the All is
Well song sung by the whole studentry all around the campus (even inside the
shower areas, hahaha). And may I add that I have a crush on Aamir (he's already
40 and he's married, IDC). Hahaha.
Taare Zameen Par, Like Stars on Earth in English, is released on
2008 and is produced and directed by famous Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. The
story revolves around an eight year-old boy named Ishaan Awasthi who finds the
whole idea of studying tedious. He has difficulty reading letters, spelling
words and solving math problems. His father believes such as an attitude
problem so against his wife's approval, he sent Ishaan to a boy's boarding
school, away from the whole family. Ishaan finds it hard to adjust in his new
environment-- he still flunks exams and his handwriting still wouldn't improve.
Because of loneliness, Ishaan loses the motivation to paint (painting is his
hobby, the only field where he excels). When temporary Art Teacher, Ram Shankar
Nikumbh observed his lack of participation in class activities, he takes
interest in him, eventually discovering he has dyslexia. Seeing Ishaan's
paintings after visiting his parents to tell them of his dyslexia, Nikumbh made
every effort to teach him math, language and spelling. Their journey towards
learning would then take its course throughout the rest of the movie. Finally,
there's somebody who took the cudgels of responsibility and extra care to a
special boy like Ishaan.
The movie's storyline is simple and easy to understand. However,
the way it was portrayed by the actors, especially Ishaan, tugs one's
heartstrings. There's a balance between the funny scenes of Ishaan fooling
around and scenes where one couldn't help but shed a tear. Ishaan is a very
likeable character, he is special and vulnerable, very much like every child
around us. When the whole family watched it, my mother remembered how she
struggled teaching my youngest brother. He finds reading and writing too
tiresome; he even told Mama "tinatamad siya." Although he was not a
dyslexic, still the effort to encourage a child to learn is really hardwork;
what more for those parents who do not even understand their child sees the
letters in their books "dancing"?
The movie also tackles themes on student competition, comparisons between a
better sibling and a weaker one and being good on various fields of expertise. In
the movie, Ishaan's elder brother Yohan is good at almost every subject. He is
even a varsity tennis player and a member of their school's drama club. While
Yohan is a nice brother to Ishaan, his teachers would still compare him and
make him see how excellent his brother is (as if he's a low-lying life
|Ram Nikumbh's Painting|
However, the bigger picture that the movie's trying to paint is
how a parent's coercion for their children to excel affects their perspectives.
I believe it can be both positive and negative. Parents can encourage their
children to study because really it is for their future. They have every right
to tell their children how important an education is and even motivate them to
get better grades. But using derogatory language or shouting at children,
telling them they're idiots or duffers or whatever is way below the belt.
Ishaan's father in the movie does some of that. He thinks that Ishaan's
dyslexia is just an attitude problem. To be fair, he never knew about it in the
first place, until Nikumbh tells them, which is quite forgivable. But when he
belittled Ishaan's artistic skills and told his teacher that it wouldn't get
him anywhere in the real world is harsh in a sense. I believe that parents
should be their child's support group-- they should encourage their children
in every field of expertise they choose-- be it art, music, math or even
cooking and baking. I mean they can make exceptions like drugs or other vices,
but really that's discernible so never mind.
The movie teaches parents to accept their children because no
matter how extraordinary or lowly they are, they're still special in their own
ways. They're God's gifts so they must be taken care of. In the absence of his
parents' TLC, Ishaan finds love from his art teacher, Nikumbh, who took every
effort to make him feel better.
In the end, I think the movie was able to accomplish its goal. The
audience would be able to feel the movie's fun and warmth at the same time.
Also, the musical scores and cinematic shots are nice (I really dunno how to
review a movie's technicalities. Hahaha). It's really a must-watch.
Labels: bollywood, like stars on earth, movie review, taare zameen par