Movies that are takes on Bollywood, that are larger than life, that don't make sense: we've seen them all this year. The best was, indeed, saved for the very last.This was the very first time in all my life that I watched a movie on the very first day of its release. It is probably a regular affair for most people, but I have never been able to do this before. I went in with very high expectations knowing that Aamir Khan wouldn't let me down.
The movie is about how parents and teachers deal with dyslexia. Taare Zameen Par's appeal lies in the "real"ness of it all. There is nothing in the movie that I couldn't relate to. Funny in parts, serious at others, but touching for the entire duration. This is not a funny, feel good movie, but one that makes you think.
Being the daughter of not one, but two, teachers, I have always considered myself very close to the education system in India. My mother taught children who were starting the process (kindergarten) and my father taught those who were completing it (undergrad, grad, doctoral and post doc students). Through my mother, I have known enough and more children who confuse their "b"s and their "d"s, their "p"s and their "q"s. I have seen the parents of these children deal with what was until then unknown to them: dyslexia. I've seen teachers who didn't understand what this was all about and recommending admitting the child to an institute for mentally retarded children. And I've seen parents grapple with the mere thought. All this at a time when information was not widely available as it is today.
Maybe I had some background and so thought this film was great. But then again, maybe not. I think anyone who watches this film can relate to it. In its entirety or in parts. I could dissect this film and talk about the glitches and how it could have been made better. But I think the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. I cried during many scenes and I also noticed many people wiping away tears.
I have had my share of bad experiences at school despite being, for most part, a topper. And I've seen some students get lousy treatment. And many of the children in my school were first generation literates. I can only imagine how traumatic it could have been for them. This film took me back to those days. To a time when my parents threatened to put me in a boarding school if I didn't behave. (God alone knows how much I misbehaved hoping they'd keep their word.) To a time when I wandered the streets after school to reach home two hours after I should have. To a time when my brother and I thought it was a great idea to catch worms in a bottle and name them "Krishna". To a time that should have been the most carefree, yet, in retrospect, seems like the most stressful.
Everyone in the movie has acted so well that it is difficult to move away from the realness of it all. I wonder if there'll be another one that will strike a chord somewhere anytime soon. Great going Aamir. May your tribe increase.