Review: “Taare Zameen Par”

By Ruhie Jamshaid

It really is not the norm to find a review of a movie amongst the pages of “Hiba” magazine, but we make an exception here and for deserved reasons. Read on…

There are many movies one may feel guilty of watching, but none can claim to look into a child’s mind and heart like “Taare Zameen Par” does. This movie isn’t the standard better-to-be avoided Bollywood potboiler with jarring music and mindless story-telling. Produced and directed by Aamir Khan, “Taare Zameen Par” educates about the very real but often misunderstood learning disability of dyslexia.

The protagonist of the movie is eight-year old Ishaan Awasthi (played by master Darsheel Safary), who often gets lost in his dream world. Scribbling drawings and day-dreaming seem to be all he does the whole day. Everyone from his teachers, neighbours to his parents seem to be at their wits end trying to figure out and straighten his ‘irresponsible’ behavior, as they perceive it to be. He often has no answers in class, never does his homework and is not able to write legibly. After much deliberation, Ishaan is sent by his parents to a boarding school with the hope of inculcating discipline in him much to his unhappiness.

At the boarding school, nothing much changes. On the contrary, Ishaan’s situation gets worse. He withdraws into his shell. Feeling abandoned by his family, he is unable to perform effectively in his academics. It is at this point that his teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (played by Aamir Khan) enters Ishaan’s life and discovers that Ishaan has an exceptional artistic talent and is actually very intelligent. Ram ascertains the fact that Ishaan is struggling through school and life at large because of dyslexia. The rest of the movie is about Ishaan’s strivings to rectify his learning disability with his teacher’s support, understanding and love, bouncing back to meet his true potential.

The movie is touching and heart-wrenching. One can’t help but feel overcome by emotions watching Ishaan’s struggles. “Taare Zameen Par” enlightens the viewers about dyslexia and the ways, how this learning disability can cripple the otherwise untapped talent and intelligence hidden in an innocent child, marring his self-esteem and progress in life. It reminds us to accept the fact that every child is created different, and that we need to curb our adult tendencies to force our children to conform to norms, without understanding our children as individuals.

“Taare Zameen Par” is surely an eye-opener for every parent out there. This movie can be recommended for its excellence in teaching about dyslexia and for its strong message of unconditional acceptance, which is conveyed in simple and touching terms, without the trappings of a typical movie.