Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Taare Zameen Par

I had seen the trailers for Tare Zameen Par. I was quite struck by the refreshing music and stark visuals. Therefore, I was looking forward to watching this movie. But Aneesh beat me to it and came out with the verdict that the movie has been cannibalized by its own hype. The phenomenon would not be new to Bollywood. We have seen scores of movies which have been cannibalized my their own hype and if there is one thing I've learn about Bollywood it is not to walk into the theater with expectations.

And that is what I did. So when Tare Zameen Par began my mind was completely occupied by the popcorn that I was eating. But as the movie progressed I felt more and more strongly drawn into Ishan Awasthi's fantasy world.

Why was I so taken by the movie? I think mostly it was because I could so much connect to it. The messy room, that procastrination in the morning while getting ready for school, making airplanes out of household objects, playing in the bathroom while my mother was shouting at me. All that. It came back. And suddenly I found myself to be a child again. Not that I had a troubled childhood or that I gave up the pleasures of childhood under some undue pressure. And that is the beauty of this movie. It shows you the various facets of childhood which have no connection to Ishan's story at all. Like Amir has said somewhere – it is a story about children.

So while on the surface it was Ishan's pathos that was affecting me, on the inside it was the incredibly strong nostalgia of going back to school and listening to cliched phrases like - “Who's laughing?! Who wants to follow him?”.

Not that the surface itself wasn't interesting. I think where the story falters is that it is caught between the classic divide of show and tell. While on one hand it is using the visual medium beautifully to show the creativity of Ishan, it also has a long preachy session between Amir and Ishan's parents about dyslexia. Like Ma'am said, the movie was caught between interesting visuals and old cliches. But as a writer, I cannot see how they could have made it better. A little polish yes, but when you're starting off with a clear ideological agenda, it is very difficult not to be preachy. It is in fact, some very good writing that shows through some of the scenes. I think the climax 'Art Mela' scene was wonderfully done specially towards the end when Ishan takes a peak at his own portrait. That one scene packed the entire impact of Amir-Ishan relationship.

On the whole, I liked this movie. Not because it was different or pathbreaking but because it wasn't. It was the old familiar, the oft repeated that brought back fond memories and intense nostalgia – and made your heart go out for that lovely child Ishan.

I think I must also make a mention of Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy's fabulous music which breathes much of the life in this movie. After Rahman, I think they're the only genuine music directors in the industry.

Also saw the trailers for Jodha-Akbar in the interval. Doesn't seem as bad as I thought it would be. Might have to watch this one. IndiaFM reports that the movie has been delayed a bit. So it's still a long way off.

See Also:


  1. taare zameen pe is a movie which is a must see for all
    I went expecting it to be one of those heavy slow movies and regretting opting to watch this over welcome, but believe me, when the interval arrived, i felt that the interval should not have happened... i mean i was so caught up in the movie.
    Aamir appearing near the interval was a masterstoke. we were all so caught up in the life of ishaan awasthi.
    I dont remember having cried for so long in any movie, not even in Rajesh khannas anand, which in hindsight seems so hammy.
    For all ye folks out there who dont go into the pluses and minuses of a movies technicalities and for all those who do... just go out and watch this one.

  2. @ Neerja - It is good to see that someone from the Rajesh Khanna generation is reading this blog. :)

  3. @ Neerja - Oh, no. Didn't mean it that way. Just that I get usually get only young readers on this blog.