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Review: Taare Zameen Par

Finally, I got done watching the most talked about Bollywood movie of 2007- Taare Zameen Par. Most of the websites and blogs have even finished reviewing it…and mine comes very late. But that’s all right, because not many people will agree with what I’ve got to say next.

When the movie started, I really felt as if I can finally expect something good from a mainstream Bollywood movie. Darsheel Safary, as Ishaan, captivated me right from the first scene, where he’s shown playing with fish in a dirty puddle of water, totally oblivious to his surroundings. I really enjoyed the colorful artwork that was shown during the opening credits. The first half of the movie was amazing. Ishaan’s struggle with the orthodox educational system is given full justice. I was telling myself, ” Aamir Khan as a director, is very good!”. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let that thought enter my mind.

The movie starts going downhill as soon as Aamir Khan enters the classroom, dressed like a clown. What exactly was the point of having that scene in the movie? All I want is a realistic movie. Is that too much from him? Mr. Perfectionist? This scene is followed by a trip to a school for special children. Then comes the title song “Taare Zameen Par”, interspersed with a lot of tear jerking scenes. Between all this, Aamir Khan, the honorary arts teacher, suddenly realizes that he’s almost forgotten about Ishaan. So off he goes to Ishaan’s house to talk to his parents and make them understand that Ishaan is dyslexic.

After managing to do that, he single handedly makes all the other teachers and the principal understand about Ishaan’s problem. Wait! We’re not done yet. Next, he teaches Ishaan how to read and write (Ishaan’s hand writing improves trememdously!). He teaches Ishaan to become “normal” in that the young boy is shown buttoning up his shirt, tying his shoe laces and his tie and combing his hair. Wasn’t Aamir Khan fighting against the set order and the “normal” way of doing things in the first place? What an irony!

A kid whose hand writing is almost indecipherable, somehow, miraculously improves it to an unbelievable extent…all because of the encouragement and the love that he receives from a teacher. Now I understand why people accuse Aamir Khan of being a “scene stealer”. The movie became just about him after he entered the scene. The boy, Darsheel Zafary, is reduced to a toy, who is used to show off Aamir’s greatness.

And let me not even talk about the Arts Show that is organized towards the end. No prizes for guessing who wins it!

If you’re still reading this review, then I’m sure that you must be abusing me by now. I’m not bashing this movie because I hate Aamir Khan or because I hate Bollywood. I really wanted to like this movie and I really did, until Aamir entered the scene and reduced it to a tear jerker. Where is the subtlety?

This movie is worth a watch only because of Darsheel Zafary’s amazing acting and the beautiful artwork in the opening scene. The background score was overdone. Shankar Mahadevan needs to hire someone else to sing some of his songs. He’s becoming really boring and predictable. And Aamir…it’s better if you stay behind the curtains.

Edit: And if you thought that the 3*9=3 scene was an original masterpiece, like I did, then think again. Wanderlust (Please go to her blog for another amazing review) and Ish informed me that the scene was blatantly lifted from Calvin & Hobbes.

tzp.gif

Rating: 6.5/10

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68 thoughts on “Review: Taare Zameen Par

  1. Hmmm I somehow don’t agree! may those tear jerker moments did help.. i know a cousin of mine who is similar to Darsheel and his parents were no diff.. they told me the movie was an eye opener for them.. especially aamir’s dialogues in sec half.. if they hadnt said so, I wud have agreed with u!

  2. Ruhi-

    I couldn’t agree more with your views. The first half was remarkably well done and reminded me of Majid Majidi, the great Iranian director. When A Khan made his raucous entry in that clown suit, all the subtlety of the movie was lost. Also, he really stole that gifted child actor’s thunder.The second half therefore was overdone and utterly predictable and ruins what could have been one of the best Hindi movies of all times. I also found Aamir Khan’s acting to be maudlin, all those scenes that show his eyes glistening with tears and in the tea stall and in the bus. I find movies that make unnecessary appeals to the viewer’s love for children to be distasteful.I still liked the dialogues with the kid’s parents though.

  3. @Balu

    I don’t expect many people to agree to my movie reviews, in fact. 🙂 Even I know lots of special kids and from what I’ve seen, it takes a tremendous amount of will and effort to get them to learn simple things. Aamir Khan seems to have over-simplified the learning process of a dyslexic child in this movie. It would have definitely taken a kid like Ishaan more than half a year to improve so much. I can beat on that. The element of realism was somewhat lost in the second half of the movie.

    @Babayaga

    Thanks for understanding what I meant! Majid Majidi is an amazing director. His movies don’t show disabled kids as a tool to make the audience cry. People who love kids will be touched anyway. The director doesn’t need to be loud and explicit and use the disability of some kids to invoke pity and tears.

  4. As soon as I read the title of the post in Google Reader, I almost knew what was coming. I don’t know why but I felt you weren’t going to like it. Yours is the second review which has negative feelings for the way Aamir Khan handled the movie and all that you have said makes sense. The deal is that when I saw the movie, I didn’t bother about the minute details and stuff, agreed the boy getting totally cured was rather ridiculous but still, I didn’t really bother about that. You on the other hand watch movies very carefully and bring out the minute detail. I guess that’s the different between a casual movie watcher and an interested and careful movie watcher. But then again, I believe it’s because you’ve seen many more movies than I have and hence you’ve come across better stuff. Maybe when I’m your age, I’ll be the same.

  5. @ Ruhi:

    Since the nearest cinema playing Hindi movies – and I am aware I say ‘Hindi’ and not Bollywood since what other kind does so-called Bollywood make anyway; I am glad there is no linguistic divide debate happening here – needs me to travel about 75-90 minutes by train, I get to watch few, if any. Same with this film.

    The reviews I have read, including yours, do not make me want to go watch it.

    My observation of Hindi cinema is that we are uncomfortable with the idea of disability. In our desire to stylise something, which is sometimes essential to explaining it to the oblivious masses before any meaningful discussion may ensue, we end up going the other end of the spectrum and make it a caricature. Remember Black? The girl seemed mad and not just frustrated with the multitude of disabilities that afflicted her. Yet another common theme is this “love” shit being all-conquering. Really? Esp in learning disabilities? Let’s all move to Bollywood planet where this is possible and unfailingly so. Nearly all functioning and high achieving dyslexics have survived not because of love, but because of constant help. For every Richard Branson, there are hundreds in the UK, who cannot get jobs or live painless lives.

    On your point: “Wasn’t Aamir Khan fighting against the set order and the “normal” way of doing things in the first place? What an irony!”, I have to disagree.

    A disability is defined as a deviation from the “normal”. All attempts are therefore aimed at “normalising” the manifestations of the disability. This corrective approach applies to physical, learning, mental disabilities alike. So what you see as an irony is what any professional would set about doing in the first place.

    I know you did not like the film but this point has to be granted credit for accurate portrayal, even if it appears accidentally.

    Thanks.

    Ruhi: Edited to remove minor typos.

  6. @bApHoMEt
    She s just playing critic 😛 .. watch the movie u will love it… there has never been a ‘perfect’ movie… the movie has a few negatives as pointed out here… but these negatives wont stop u frm enjoying the movie.. my guarantee

  7. thank you for this review…
    after watching the movie…i had felt this feeling of unsatisfaction…
    what ever you told abt the second half seems to be correct…

    but…the movie demands a better rating..
    remember the scene when ishan does that maths calculation (1st half, ofcourse )
    3*9=….i.e is pure creativity…that single shot had lot to tell abt the director…and the boy’s acting…the good message (!)…the good touching songs…i think u kept low abt the positives…

    🙂

  8. @ ish:

    I know that you must have been rather upset after reading my review. I went back to your blog to re-read what you had to say and to see if it makes any sense to me, now that I’m done watching this movie. I know that an average movie goer doesn’t bother about the minute details. Most of them, including you, see the big picture and are happy if the movie is over all entertaining. That is how I used to be 4-5 years back. But not anymore. That is why I find it very difficult to watch Indian stuff. I feel that if you watch lots of international movies, then you’ll outgrow these half hearted attempts made by Indian directors to visualize the pain of a young child, crippled by his disabilities. 🙂 If you’re interested, let me know.

    Have you noticed that most of the people who liked this movie stayed away from my review? I realized that my review will be quite offensive for them. Thankfully, most of them don’t watch the other movies that I review! 😛 But it’s my blog…and I’ll say what I really feel.

    Edit: I went back and read your review again. The part that you identified with the movie- the first half where a kid who struggles against the educational system- is beautifully shown. And I totally agree with you on that part. Every kid who has had a difficult time “matching up” to their parents’ standards, getting good grades etc. will love this part. It is not necessary for everyone to do well in school. People are good at different things and parents need to stop comparing. Also, being good at something that doesn’t involve Science/Maths doesn’t mean that you won’t survive in the real world. This message was conveyed beautifully.

    @Burin

    you’re welcome 🙂

    @Balu

    I didn’t have the energy to read that entire article…because it talks about a Bollywood movie. But I did catch some snippets from Raja Sen’s review that were being criticized by the author of Mutiny. I’ve always been a fan of Raja Sen’s reviews and what he says makes a whole lot of sense to me. He perfectly worded out the problem of this movie- everything is dished out in excess- first, the flip book, second, the background score, third, the special children shown with disabilities in the second half, fouth, the TEARS!

    But the reviewer at Mutiny says

    The parental angle IS half baked, because they decided not to do anything about the child, and send him off to a boarding school and sit back. That’s the plot.

    Why should it be half baked when the movie is about the relationship between parents and children? Parents form a very integral part of their kids’ lives. The parental angle was very nicely show in the first half. But in the second half, as soon as Aamir enters the scene, the parents are reduced to puppets, who are only to be brought to the scene to be laughed at, so that Aamir, playing the role of a preacher, can let the audience know, what the parents are doing wrong. The entire make up became really artificial and funny. Even the other reviwer Rajeev Masand, who liked the movie, ends his review by saying that “the movie is about parents and children”. But didn’t your reviewer of Mutiny just agree to the fact that the parental angle was half baked?!

    I could go on and on…if you have a problem with what I said, then it’s better if you point it out and I’ll elaborate on that. 🙂

  9. @ Rohan:

    Sure…not a problem 🙂 I would ask you to save your time and watch something else.

    @Shafaly

    So glad you brought up Black! I almost fell like gagging when I was watching that movie. That’s one of the reasons I can’t stand Sanjay Leela’s movies. He glamorizes love with his multi crore sets.

    All these Hindi movies glamorize the entire love aspect. If love would be the all conquering medicine, then the pharma and OTC shops would have stopped doing business a long time back! I know that this is a very far fetched statement to make, but that’s the level of Hindi movies. They can go only so far- show everything with some sort of love angle thrown in. They cannot show any incident in an “as is” state. I know my neighbor’s daughter, who is party dyslexic, because she can’t hear or talk, who finds it so difficult to understand anything. She repeats every single school term thrice. Everybody loves her a lot, of course. Life is a constant struggle for her. Aamir’s movie is a joke. If you’ve read the link sent by Balu where the reviewer thrashes the other reviewers like Raja Sen (who didn’t like the movie), then you’ll notice that he says that the movie is not a substitute for a medical school education for dyslexia. All right. But does this give Aamir the liberty to twist the reality of such a serious issue like dyslexia? To make millions of Indians feel that only some ‘love’ will conquer all? He could have ended the movie showing that his parents finally came to terms with the kid’s disability and that they’re helping the kid. That’s it. That would have been a better ending and would have helped the movie be remembered as a master piece.

    A disability is defined as a deviation from the “normal”. All attempts are therefore aimed at “normalising” the manifestations of the disability.

    Yes Shefaly, I agree with you. Perhaps I should have worded myself in a clearer manner. I made that statement because there is an opening song in the movie that talks about people like you and me who go around doing the “normal” things that everyone in a society is expected to do- wake up on time, eat, wash dishes, go for work, come back, work, eat, sleep etc. And then Ishaan is shown, still sleeping and dreaming. By means of that song, Aamir implies that it’s not necessary for us to be ‘normal’ and do the ‘normal’ things in life. It is perfectly all right to be like Ishaan and do what we really want to do. That is why, at the end, when he shows Ishaan as “normal”, I couldn’t help squirming. Why make such a bold song at the start of the movie and laugh at the normal things and then come a full circle at the end and do just the opposite?

    No way to implement that corrective feature 😉 I need that the most- going by the number of grammatical mistakes that I make while posting comments in a hurry. I’ll edit your comment to reflect the changes.

    @Bap

    I don’t know! 🙂 You decide…I’ve realized that our tastes do differ a lot even though we watch a lot of similar stuff. I don’t like mushy mushy and lovey dovey stuff.

    @Balu

    I always play the critic. And actually, I can give you lots of examples of “Perfect movies” and the art of subtlety. Have you watched movies by Kieslowski, Kurasawa, or Kubrick? You’ll know what I mean. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but I’m very serious while watching movies. You can read some of my older reviews…then you’ll know what kind of a movie critic I am. 🙂

    @Arjun

    Yes, I agree with you totally on the first half! Everything was going perfect in the first half, including the animation of Ishaan’s thoughts…3*9=3…that was a very neat job. Aamir raised the bar for himself, only to fall in the second half, much like the clown in his opening scene.

    I did keep low about the positives because everyone seems to have loved this movie. So they don’t need me to tell them what’s good. I need to them what’s BAD! 🙂 For me, the second half of any movie is the main deciding factor. 6.5/10 is 3.25/5, which is definitely not low for a movie like this, which is factually inaccurate. But thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 🙂 I appreciate it.

  10. I read your review with interest because it is always interesting to read someone with a different point of view. Actually I too did not like Aamir’s acting and look in the movie! It just put you off more than it did me, that’s all!

  11. ur on the dashboard wt this one

    ps wat do u expect this is desi cinema
    thankfully it aint shahrukh else Darsheel would have become a character artist with a side role

  12. ulag says:

    Actually i liked the movie a lot. I dont think the message of the movie is that only “love” helps these kids. I think what Aamir is trying to say is we need to be understanding. There is a difference. Ishaans mother showed him a lot of love but it didnt help. Nikhumb understood!! He knew what was the problem with Ishaan and how he was mixing up letters. He knew that Ishaan loved painting. So Nikhumb taught him using what Ishaan loved most. He taught him by painting and art which was something Ishaan could grasp easily. I agree that maybe Ishaans progress was too fast. It took about half a year. But the reason why Nikhumb started teaching Ishaan was not to get him to be conventional and in the mainstream. He started teaching him because the school had decided to remove Ishaan and Nikhumb knew there was no other choice. It would have been a blow to Ishaan if he had to change schools so regularly.
    I dont get what was wrong if Nikhumb entered the classroom in a clownsuit? A serious movie can have some light-hearted moments. Is it too much to expect a teacher who wants to have some fun with his students come in a clown’s costume? Its not even much of a costume really. If you notice carefully its just a shawl, a cap, the nose and a pencil moustache!!!
    The title track showed Nikhumb working at his Tulips academy. It had its tender moments. The first half half was about a child with dyslexia and maybe he wanted to show another side, not just children with learning disabilities but also special children and how their parents love them and are proud of them and also under-age working children. He wanted to leave an impact on the audience which that song did.
    Yeah maybe the film isnt mellow enough and maybe he made parts of it commercial. But i think that was his goal. To have as many people watch it as possible. Its not just about dyslexia, on another level its about children and how they should be allowed to pursue their dreams and keep their childhood intact. Aamir was looking to make an impact on as large an audience as possible. And as far as i know it did. Many people in India dont understand these issues about children that well. So its imperative that hes able to draw as many people as possible. Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Girish Kasavarahalli are great directors and their movies are very hard hitting and subtle. Case in point was Adoors latest movie nallu penungal. But how many people actually saw their movies? Only a handful. Really a shame that serious cinema has so few takers in our country but thats a fact. Thats how most of the audience is. So if Aamir wanted to give a strong message it would be necessary for him to attract a sizeable audience. And he has done just that.
    I do agree that shankar needs to sing lesser songs though hehe 😛

  13. @ Nita:

    Yes, I remember reading your review where you said that you enjoyed ‘Aamir the director’ instead of “Aamir the actor”. I think it’s not just this movie- on my mom’s insistence, I tried to watch Rang De Basanti when it was released and I couldn’t tolerate Aamir Khan playing the role of a college yuppie. Anyway, the first half of the movie TZP was worth a watch. Second half…very less so.

    @Prax

    Yes, you’re right! It’s my fault because I expected something extraordinary from desi cinema, where the prime concern of the producer and director is mass appeal and some quick bucks. Btw, even in this movie, the second half was more about Aamir Khan and his sensitive understanding about dyslexia than Darsheel. I don’t even watch SRK movies. The last one that I liked was Swades, which I watched just a couple of weeks back.

    @Ulag

    //Nikhumb understood!! He knew what was the problem with Ishaan and how he was mixing up letters.

    Yes, but at what cost was this message conveyed? Aamir said that he was dyslexic too! So, does it only take a dyslexic person to understand another dyslexic child’s problems? Then how are those special institutes run? Surely, the entire management is not dyslexic. 🙂

    //I agree that maybe Ishaans progress was too fast. It took about half a year.

    And that is where the reality flew out of the window! Somehow, I can’t appreciate cinema if there is no justification for the effects.

    //I dont get what was wrong if Nikhumb entered the classroom in a clownsuit

    Ulag, the movie was progressing so well before that…was there any need for that scene, except for the justification of “mass appeal”? I’m sure the audience would have liked this movie even without that ridiculous, hatke entry of Aamir Khan! He would have made a stronger impression had he not tried so hard.

    //He wanted to leave an impact on the audience which that song did.

    Yes, I know what you mean…but I didn’t like it one bit. For me, it was a forceful portrayal that was done to make this movie a total “masala”. This added the “emotional” element that the Indian audience craves for. Maybe it’s not Aamir’s fault after all. It’s the audience that dictates his direction and production. And the Indian audience loves melodrama…how else do you think Ekta Kapoor’s production house is still running? 😛

    //Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Girish Kasavarahalli are great directors and their movies are very hard hitting and subtle.

    Ulag, are these regional movies? I might not be aware of them; if they have subtitles, then I would love to watch them because I don’t understand any other language apart from English, Hindi and Bengali. I do watch a lot of international movies though- because all of them have English subtitles. 🙂

    Yes, I agree with you when you say that Aamir needs to attract audience and only on that account, his clownish entrance and those tear jerking scenes are justifiable. People expect it, else it will be a flop! I can’t wait for that era in Hindi cinema when the directors/producers will outgrow these musicals and start making world class movies. Out of the thousands of useless movies that are produced every year, there are only a handful that are probably worth watching. And unfortunately, to find these gems, we need to watch the other worthless crap…for which not many of us have the time. 🙂

  14. I have seen a few movies of Kurasawa, but I haven’t seen any movies of Kieslowski, or Kubrick! I wont call movies of Kurosawa perfect because there is a lot of over acting in his movies.. also excess dramatisation.. of course he perfected the style of story telling ..
    I agree aamir was given a spotlight in second half which could have been done away with.. but if they had done that the movie wouldn’t have reached out to these many number of people.. I know a lot of people, who went to see Aamir. They liked the movie of course, but if they had read somewhere that he has a small role they would have given this one a miss! In spite of the excellent story and performance by Darsheel!

  15. @Balu

    Yes, you’re right! Not many people would want to watch a child’s movie, and that too a movie without any major star thrown in for added flavor. It bottles down to the mentality of the audience. To make everyone sit and take notice, some over the top scenes (by the top actors) are needed. We call it Paisa Vasool. 😉

    It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many serious movie watchers.

  16. ulag says:

    Yeah i agree that he neednt have shown that he was dyslexic too to have understood. But it doesnt take away anything from the movie. Most people in India, parents especially tend to be very insensitive when it comes to their children and their issues. Theyre all so obsessed with making their children run the rat race that they forget and overlook many things along the way. I think this movie might help change that attitude a bit(though only temporarily i fear).Im no big fan of Aamir either. But the movie tried to handle a lot of issues regarding the story and trying to make it a commercial success.In that it was a bold theme. Not a perfect movie but it was a risky attempt in a country where david dhavan’s and karan johar’s mindless mundane movies rule the roost. Just for that i really appreciate it.
    Adoor Gopalakrishnan makes Malayalam movies and Girish Kasavarahalli makes in Kannada.

  17. @ ulag:

    Yes, I agree…the theme was very different and I really enjoyed the first half of the movie nevertheless. That boy Darsheel’s acting was superb through and through. And it is definitely better than all those lovey dovey stuff out there. That’s the reason I still gave it a 6.5/10.

    Hopefully, it will help parents understand their child’s point of view. Any chance Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s and Girish Kasavarahalli’s movies will be available along with subtitles? Thanks.

  18. ulag says:

    i really dunno….iv seen them on tv now and then….but these are national award winning movies….so usually when theyre screened at all those film festivals theyll have subtitles…so i guess they should be available with sub-titles….

    Ruhi: All right! Will keep a watch. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation. Btw, I think you should start a blog. And I added Surabhi to the other post. You can watch the first episode on Youtube. I’ve included the link..

  19. I should watch this.. before commenting something good here 🙂 most probably first week of next month 😛

    Ruhi: Next month?! That’s a long way off Dinsan. LOL. Why such pre-planning?

  20. ulag says:

    hehe i guess i will start in some time. Thanks for the episode. Will watch it and soak myself in some childhood memories hehe!!! 🙂

    Ruhi: You’re welcome! Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

  21. I have seen Kasravalli’s movies, yes with sub titles ( he came to our college.. there was a special sreening) but no idea where to get them!
    by the way if you get any adoor movies let me know too!

    getting back to the topic.. over the top senti was aimed at the mothers who went to see the movie.. they so like to go for movies and waste a pack tissues!

    By the way i saw a few uncles (with specs and all ) shed a litre or two of tear during the movie!… [poor chap got dehydrated towards the end!

  22. @Prax

    What is cannonball? A movie? Never heard of it…

    @Balu

    Yes, I will let you know if I find any of these movies.Yes, I know Aamir showed the ‘sensitive’ footage only to make people cry…the more quantity of tears that are shed, the better the movie is! He is giving Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela and others stiff competition because even he can make the audience cry 😉 People are suckers for this kind of emotional stuff.

  23. @ Ruhi…. DVD comes home on that day .. actually dvd of three movies.. hmm but there is something else coming along with it.. mmm with someone special..wait for that news

    Ruhi: Something special?! 😛 Now I’m curious!! When can we see a post about this ‘special’ thing on your blog?

  24. My my… I needn’t have commented on this… this post is practically bursting with all these comments. However, just a line u r right to some extent but a bit harsh to a greater extent. C’mon, he also had to sell it to the audience, didn’t he? U think it’d have been as great a hit as it is without those tear jerkers?

    And btw, r u planning to write on both the blogs (ur private one and this)? It’s a bit difficult keeping track of both of them. 😉

  25. I wasn’t sad or offended after I read your review. When I first saw the movie, I was totally moved etc but with time, I also figured the mistakes that were made and stuff. Then I read the review a couple of days back on a friend’s blog and she echoed your views, totally. She said it’d be better if they could have made a documentary on dyslexia. She’s right because they mentioned dyslexia only what twice or thrice in the movie. What you have said is also correct and I’m not somebody who’ll stick up for somebody if something is wrong. You pointed out the mistakes, I accept. I crib only when they’re about SRK but then you’re allowed to have one favorite aren’t you? Having said that though, I don’t deny he was terrible in Koyla and many such films as well.

    However, coming back to the topic, I agree totally that the first half was better. I loved the scene where he catches the fish from the pond, it’s beautiful. The mother’s role could have been way better actually. She’s the only one who understands her son but still leaves him at the boarding school. I liked the brother’s character a lot if you ask me. The second half could have been much better, the art competition was badly done. I didn’t mind the music much actually, but the title song should have been sung by somebody else. Shankar Mahadevan can’t do mellow numbers really well. Did you know that entire scene where he blows up a planet while doing the math in that test is copied from Calvin and Hobbes? I thought they did that brilliantly.

    And you’re right, maybe 3-4 years on, when I’ve watched more international movies, I’ll be able to look at them better and identify the good and the bad points. Currently I’m low on experience and so every movie that’s a little different feels good. I’m interested in watching international movies if that’s what you’re watching but I believe I’ll have to give up entertainment for the next 2 months on the minimum. I’ve been doing Chemistry since the morning and it’s totally killing me. But oh well, there’s no real logic trying to wait for somebody like Ram Kumar Nikumbh or whatever his name was to come identify your talents. 😛

  26. i agree with you, but not completely. I didn’t like the movie too, but for different reasons, the main one being i really can’t tolerate aamir khan’s holier-than-thou attitude.
    in the comments, you’ve brought out so many points which struck me, too, but i hadn’t the patience to mention all of them on my review on my blog… i too wrote a very negative review, and have people asking me to get my head examined.

  27. @ indisch:

    I can never have enough of good comments. 🙂 So, you’re always free to comment.

    C’mon, he also had to sell it to the audience, didn’t he? U think it’d have been as great a hit as it is without those tear jerkers?

    Great! There seems to be a general notion that all of that was justifiable on the “mass appeal” ground. 🙂 Thank God I’m not a part of that group.

    Which private blog are you talking about? My private blog is only viewable to me. 🙂 I have three public blogs- This one, the other CFA blog (in my blogroll) and another “professional” blog that’s not been updated since ages. The new one on WP.org lies abandoned as of today.

    @Rohan

    I’m sure you’ve made up your mind by now. Hopefully, you studied for the exam because this movie definitely not worth more than your exam! Come back and let me know what you did.

    @Ish

    I just read wanderlust’s review of this movie and I’m stunned! Gawd, I thought that the 3*9=3 scene was one thing that was really good…and even that’s been lifted from a comic strip? (which I found in wanderlust’s post). 😮 Can’t these peoplel do ANYTHING original? Even I really liked the brother’s character. He’s really understanding and that is how many of us are in real lives- as older siblings, we feel protective towards our younger brothers/sisters. At least, that’s how I feel.

    Take your 12th standard boards and all those horrible entrance exams 😉 Then I’ll make you watch all nice movies. Hopefully, you’ll like them. The best thing is, you’re ready to explore some new genre and I really appreciate that. I promise, you won’t feel like watching this kind of horse sh*t again! and all the best with those horrible organic and inorganic chemistry formulae. Boy, am I glad that I’m no more in school! Phew!

    @Wanderlust

    Hey welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. 🙂 Yes, I know what you mean by his “holier than thou” attitude. Didn’t he portray himself in that light even in Rang De and many many other movies, including Sarfarosh? I don’t really like it when media labels him as “Mr. Perfectionist”. What is so perfect about his work? He overacted in almost all the scenes. Shedding gallons of tears. He doesn’t even do roles that suit his age. He looked quite old in this movie and that’s fine, because he is a teacher. But if you noticed, in RDB, he looked much much old and didn’t really suit the college boy character that he played. Shahid Kapoor would have looked nice, instead. But yeah, like some people here have commented, the Indian audience wants big stars! How else can you justify Rajnikanth appearing in a movie like Sivaji?

    Hey and thanks for putting up that comic strip…there are people who’ve commented here who think that it was the best scene in the movie (including me), before I came to know the truth. I think I’ll include a link to your post with that comic strip. People need to know how much of a perfectionist he is.

    @Prax

    Thanks for the link. 🙂

  28. hi says:

    Hi there. Interesting viewpoint.

    I feel before criticizing a movie too harshly, one must always ask the simple question: Could I have done it better? Silly as this may sound, it is something to think about. As a critic, it is easy to find negatives in others work, but it takes true determination and effort to actually make a film.

    I have deep respect for film makers like Aamir Khan who try to make films with a deeper meaning, unlike many Hollywood/Bollywood movies.

    My two cents.

    Ruhi: I would have taken you seriously if you’d left a proper name instead of “hi” and a valid email address. If you have an opinion, then why not give yourself some credibility? The next time you comment, leave a valid email address, else I won’t respond to your comment.

    Let me answer your questions- Could I have done better? I believe so! Too sad that I wasn’t the director of this movie 😉 And which Hollywood movies are you talking about? I can give you a big list of brilliantly directed movies (Take a look at my Cinema Page). About Bollywood…yes you’re right. There are hardly any good movies, including this one.

  29. finally somebody who had the guts to call it as it is. people are just afraid to diss the movie cuz it’s about dyslexia.they dont want to end up looking politically incorrect.

    Ruhi: Aniche, thanks and welcome to my blog 🙂 Yes, I think people do have a problem dismissing movies that focus on such worthy causes! But how many times did you hear the word dyslexia? Wasn’t it more about a child’s struggle with the educational system and his relationship with his parents?

  30. hey thanks for getting that calvin strip.. i did notice that when i saw the movie… and i did tell my friends abt this one.. but i could never find it!

    Ruhi: Balu, you need to thank wanderlust for it. I’ve included a link to her blog, where she’d put up the comic first. 🙂

  31. Well..I respect you review..
    I find the movie good enough for a second time.If aamir wanted to steal the show then..why wud he enter after interval..Also, the emotional scenes were very necessary as it gave meaning to the story.

    and i dont worship Aamir khan ,but atleast he’s the best khan in the industry for me.
    I welcome this movie with my heart and soul..

  32. Yea, Wanderlust was where I first read that review. Thanks for linking.

    And trust me when I say organic and inorganic sh*t keeps getting worse every year. I don’t understand why I’m studying things that are going to be totally irrelevant when I’m doing computer engineering (if I do manage to get admission somewhere that is)

  33. @ruhi

    i studied for my exam and did pretty well too…now i dont feel like watching this,instead i feel like putting my hands on “ronin” or “i am legend”

  34. @Nitin

    Amen to that! If you think that Aamir is the best Khan, then there is no way that a couple of sentences from me will change your outlook. 🙂

    @Ish

    Actually I never minded studying organic chemistry; I couldn’t tolerate Inorganic chemistry at all! But yes, they will be pretty irrelevant once you start studying for a Comp. Sc. degree. This is how our Education system is…totally baseless and very limited choices.

    @Rohan

    Good choice! 😛 Haven’t seen Ronin or I am Legend, but they might be better than this movie…I don’t know. Btw, you can watch the first half; it was quite good. Stop watching the movie after Aamir enters the scene 😉

  35. Yea, that’s why the acronyms Central Board of Student Exploitation and all. They said Indian education is better because we know everything. They don’t understand how much better it could’ve been if we knew only what we need to know.

  36. @ ish:

    I was laughing hilariously when I read that post of yours! Seriously..one of the best. Btw, did you check the comment Anurag made in my post “Replaying Old Ads”? He said-

    best part of your blog is inputs by Ish…

    LOL. 😀

    No, I don’t think I want to watch I am Legend. Definitely not interested!

    @Arvind

    It’s all right! Don’t worry…I wouldn’t have watched it had it not been for the hype.

    @Shefaly

    Yeah…haven’t watched it. Even I can’t believe it. After I read your comment, which ended with three question marks, I logged into Netflix and added that movie to my queue (I’m not lying! Check my movie rental queue in the left sidebar 😉

    Edit: The Netflix feed hasn’t been updated yet.

  37. @Ruhi: Yeah? I thought nobody was going to like that post lol! Sachchi I should get my dimaag kharaab more often then. Pichli waali post got 77 comments btw, dekho is baar record break hota hai ya nahi.

    Idhar bhi 48 comments ho gaye hain..then you say you need more 23 year se upar waale ladke. Itne saare hain, kisi ko bhi lekar bhaag jao, Jab We Met style. 😛

  38. @Ruhi
    so finally yesterday night i watched “i am legend” and “tare zameen par”…i thought to see ronin later..

    on “i am legend”
    the movie should have made a lot more better…Will Smith is too good(may be coz i am a fan)..there are certain places in the movie which i loved a lot…since u haven’t seen it,i dont want to get into detail and spoil ur interest..but overall performance of the movie demands pretty much more….

    on TZP…

    rating…..first half 5/5
    second half 3/5..hmm thats a 8/10 eehhh

    ruhi…the introduction of aamir was utter waste..seriously,as in any bollywood movie u expect..a sound at the door-curious eyes at the door-hero comes in funny clothes(is it madatory for a movie abt kids..god)-hero sings with kids-he dances-becomes the fav of kids-blaah blaah all those usual stuff..and his over caring for the boy(can it be justified coz he is associated with a special skool)

    but in the end…it did left a mark..may be because of the topic chosen..it stands apart from the usual hindi bluffs ain’t it…if we compare it with great movies or classics,it won’t reach anywer near..but still its a good movie..

    finally:-

    so people dont say like “aamir khan is gonna win next oscar,he’s the best director,this is the best movie ever made..its a classic”………..no..”its a good movie,its nothing just good”

  39. @Ish

    OKay! I will help you break that record! 😉 Hopefully, you’ll get at least 78 comments. 😛 Don’t know about century though.

    Itne saare hain, kisi ko bhi lekar bhaag jao, Jab We Met style. 😛

    ROFL. 48 comments not equal to 48 guys, unfortunately 😛 You saw Jab We Met recently na…so I think seeing all the Sardar masti, you’ve gone mad! Do sardars really behave like that in real life? I have some sardar friends; they are generally very cheerful, but no one is like Kareena Kapoor in that movie.

    @Rohan

    I don’t think I want to watch “I am Legend”! I’m over the phase of watching anything that gets released. So, you can go ahead and spoil my fun.

    About TZP- Yeah…the clown scene was one of the worst in my opinion. No point spoiling a “different” movie with such cliches just because the audience expects it. I think any movie will do better if we try not to cater to everyone’s taste. And no, Aamir has a ery long way to go before he wins an Oscar. Oh, did you forget that he doesn’t care about Indian awards? But he’s fine with an OScar…never understood that logic.

  40. ruhi..

    he must be thinking like he’s done with the limit of Indian awards and achievements and now he gotta go for the stars..LOL…dreaming is good..but to be realistic is sense…

    Ruhi: ROFL. Check out his blog http://aamirkhan.com. One of the most unimpressive blogs I’ve ever come across. Yet he gets thousands of comments. That’s some star power, eh?

    Why does he use “y’all”? How long has he been in the southern states of US? Very weird. I don’t understand why Indians need to use such lingo.

  41. Clown scene apart, I disagree with you on most counts.

    1. “I was telling myself, ” Aamir Khan as a director, is very good!”. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let that thought enter my mind.”

    If the first half imrpessed you “so” much, then you should not let one or two tear-jerking scenes / cliched episodes ruin your impression steeply.

    “Where is the subtlety?”

    There were a lot of in-your-face” emotions in the movie.. but it did have subtlety… and trust me, it had a HUGE amount of subtlety in a lot of scenes.. Maybe you missed them.. or maybe I just “got” them the way they were intended to be!

    “The background score was overdone. Shankar Mahadevan needs to hire someone else to sing some of his songs.”

    IMHO, The background score complemented the movie perfectly. In fact, I think I have seen very few scores complement the script as well as TZP does. And as far as Shankar Mahadevan is concerned, his voice has got certain modulations that only he is capable of bringing out. I think he does a fabulous job in the songs of TZP too.. and what I like most about the music form the music point of view is the use of distortion guitars.. It appeals to my “rock-music” ears!

    “And Aamir…it’s better if you stay behind the curtains.”

    Wait… I don’t get it! Did you not like Aamir, the actor in TZP? .. Or did you not like Aamir, the director in TZP? .. and if you did not like EITHER.. then why even ask him to stay behind the curtains?? .. 😉
    I think he has played both roles brilliantly. I am not much of a Bollywood freak myself, but to the casual eye and the masses (of which I am one!), the movie delivered.. 100%!

    But that’s just my opinion…! :mrgreen:

  42. he he… Amit you did it.

    @ruhi: I egged on Amit to read your review. I have such a devilish grin on my face now. 🙂 That’s because of the bull-slamming-in-you way he has answered.

    Personally, I disagree too with several things you stated in your review. I did some more research and met a psychiatrist. My anti-thesis is ready :), I will post it on my blog. And you know how lazy I am, it will take time. But I hope it is worth waiting. 🙂

  43. @Amyth

    If the first half imrpessed you “so” much, then you should not let one or two tear-jerking scenes / cliched episodes ruin your impression steeply.

    Actually, what makes for an amazing movie experience includes every single aspect. I disliked the second half as much as I liked the first half. There were such beautiful scenes in the first half (many of them have been pointed out by you in your review). But the second part was a big let down and unfortunately, people walk out of theaters with the most recent memories and I’m no exception.

    There were a lot of in-your-face” emotions in the movie.. but it did have subtlety… and trust me, it had a HUGE amount of subtlety in a lot of scenes.. Maybe you missed them.. or maybe I just “got” them the way they were intended to be!

    In-your-face emotions are not subtlety! I don’t know how can you say “it had a huge amt of subtlety in a lot of scenes …maybe you missed them” because Aamir made sure that every single scene that should have been subtle should be repeated umpteen number of times, so that it no longer remains subtle. For example- The flipbook. It was a good idea, I agree. But it lost its effect because it was shown SO MANY TIMES! Similarly, I didn’t even feel sorry by the time the movie ended because he cried so much! He cried for every single person who saw this movie 😉

    Watch Wang Kar Wai or Kieslowski to know about subtlety. 🙂 You won’t even know what happened unless you watch very closely…that’s called subtlety.

    IMHO, The background score complemented the movie perfectly. In fact, I think I have seen very few scores complement the script as well as TZP does. And as far as Shankar Mahadevan is concerned, his voice has got certain modulations that only he is capable of bringing out. I think he does a fabulous job in the songs of TZP too.. and what I like most about the music form the music point of view is the use of distortion guitars.. It appeals to my “rock-music” ears!

    Sure…you’ve got your taste, I’ve got mine. The music of the movie is below average. The title track was quite good, but I didn’t like the way he chose to picturize it. I’ve tried very hard to search for a theme that ties all the scenes together…but it’s impossible. Aamir chooses to focus on twenty different kind of issues in the second half and it just got me confused. What is the movie about? About dsylexia? About kids in general? About special kids only? About the relationship betn. parents and kids? Or about the relationship betn. him and the kid?! Duh.

    Wait… I don’t get it! Did you not like Aamir, the actor in TZP? .. Or did you not like Aamir, the director in TZP? .. and if you did not like EITHER.. then why even ask him to stay behind the curtains?? .. 😉

    I hated Aamir as an actor in the second half. He’s the one who spoilt my visual experience in the second half totally. Aamir directed the first half very well. The second half was plain bad.

    I think he has played both roles brilliantly. I am not much of a Bollywood freak myself, but to the casual eye and the masses (of which I am one!), the movie delivered.. 100%!

    Yes, to the casual eye, it did…I agree. Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to watch a movie casually. I need to stop expecting much from Hindi movies…that’s all.

    @Poonam

    I know Amit had read this review even before he commented. (Mybloglog told me so 😉 I don’t think it’s any amount of bull slamming. I can take much more.

    I don’t expect many people to agree with my review…I stated it in the very first paragraph. 🙂 In fact, a person who watches primarily mainstream Hindi and Hollywood movies won’t like my review. I’m waiting for your review and I know you liked the movie…so probably I won’t agree! Haha!

  44. K. K. says:

    I have worked with children and adults with disabilities for over 25 years. Noone is “cured” of dyslexia through acceptance and love only. Overcoming dyslexia takes years of hard work and dedication on the part of the student, teachers and family.

    I plan to see this movie, but with a jaundiced eye. If there is a message in it, then it seems it would be to parents to accept their children as they were created. Not everyone is a genius in academics…genius is everywhere.

  45. @Ruhi: Ruhi, nahi, Amit had not read your review until I told him. I asked on chat as well, he said he will read your review in peace. 🙂

    Instinctively, I knew he would disagree with your review.

    And I have watched several offbeat movies in film fests. But reason I support this movie is personal, I could connect with movie at personal level, for various reasons, that did not happen for you. Its just that. 🙂

    @KK: I met a psychiatrist. He said dyslexia is about not able to identify alphabets, not able to follow multiple instruction, they can’t do too many things at time. These were all included in Aamir’s movie.

    In Aamir’s movie, the kid was endowed with above average intelligence. It showed in his other non-academic work. So he focussed on his basic problems and child was doing well.

    Many dyslexics have been known to get higher academic degrees. There is no cure, constant survival which can be done doctor said. They are other things I learnt, which I will write in my blog.

    Lastly, the movie is not about dyslexia. It is incidental to the message of the movie.

  46. @ K. K.:

    Thank you for stopping by! 🙂 The fact that the road to recovery was shown to be artificially short was one of the things that really upset me. The struggle that disabled kids face has been undermined by the treatment of the movie.

    @Poonam

    Sorry- what I meant is, I did read the comment that you left on his blog asking him to read my post. And I noticed that he read my post after you said that (but before taking the time to actually comment)…not that it really matters!

    I can understand why you love this movie, if you have a personal reason. Look forward to seeing your personal reason for liking this movie. Write that review soon.

  47. Your new finding about the 3*9 scene was err…a bit saddening…

    was really impressed by that scene….
    had admired the heads behind such a shot…and was a bit proud too…that Amir Khan did it…

    but now…suddenly the movie seems to be nothing….hoo…. 😦

  48. And yes, your review explains clearly what all are there in this movie that makes it dull. If I hadn’t googled upon your review, I might have ended up believing that there is some need of repair to my thinking system, as all my friends whom I sent my link told me so…

    I have different thoughts about Rajnikanth and his movies, which would be very difficult to explain in an argument; I used to dislike him in my teens, but later, my attitude changed. (Now, isn’t that a bit off-topic?)

    And one more thing – don’t watch Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s movies. They’re crap.

  49. Ajith- Thanks for your comment and join the “I hated TZP club”. I’ll take a look at your review. Like you can see, I’ve been asked implicitly to get my head checked too. 🙂

    I dont watch regional movies because I can’t follow regional languages, except for Bengali and Hindi (if you consider it to be a North Indian language). Most of these movies are released without subtitles. Frankly speaking, there are many other world class movies and I would have to watch a whole lot of crap to find maybe 1-2 good Indian movies and I don’t have the time for that.

    Rajni is a nice person, but I have not seen his movies. (Neither do I intend to).

  50. Dyslectic says:

    I felt after watching the movie that every character in the film was played perfectly by all the actors except Aamir Khan himself. He looked so much larger than life that he was a bit disturbing in the second part of the movie. Another filmi part I found was making Ishaan a nearly normal person within a very short time, which is nearly impossible. The affected parents can only tell. I’m too small to advise Aamir but he should understand that reality is a bit too far from Bollywood’s concept of social problems.

    Ruhi: Thanks for your comment 🙂 If you’ve read the discussion, then you’l know that I didn’t like the movie.

  51. Jamie smith says:

    I disagree completely I am dyslexic and with the same training I was able to improve in the same way so don’t say something like that isn’t realistic when you obviously haven’t lived it

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