Monday, July 30, 2012

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Like Stars On Earth


"Like Stars on Earth" (Taare Zameen Par in Hindi) is an inspirational film that ranks among the best of Indian cinema (in my opinion). The film tells the story of a dyslexic 8-year old who struggles in school due to society's ignorance of his condition. Due to the subject matter I was fully prepared to dismiss this film, expecting something sappy and overly sentimental. Thankfully, I was wrong. This film really worked for me on so many levels. Story-wise, this poignant film really struck a chord with me. Growing up on a small Caribbean Island, I could totally relate to the pressures of an education system based on traditional British principles. The rigid structure (much more than that found in USA) is firmly opposed to alternative teaching methods. In fact, many persons in my country (I'm sure it's the same in other Caribbean countries too) still scoff at the notion of mental disorders like ADHD. I could easily imagine challenged kids in my society going through the same struggles as Ishaan (the focal character). The parents' shame, the insensitive children and the strange tendency to use humiliation as motivation, are all things that I've seen in my school days. This film is actually a great companion piece for the equally affecting "3 Idiots", where the pressure to succeed (in specific fields of study) continues at University-level. In the Caribbean and India, we are still yet to embrace the concept of a holistic liberal arts education. As a result, many students crumble under the pressure to become one of the big 3: lawyer, doctor, engineer.
Accompanying this great screenplay is a beautiful score, fine acting and even some cool visual effects that really bring you into Ishaan's perspective. The music is less "loud" than many other Bollywood films, with lyrics that are actually quite touching. Aamir Khan plays a great character that celebrates all those great teachers out there that contribute so much to society. Last but not least, the film features outstanding child acting from Darsheel Safary as Ishaan. His performance is quite accomplished, as it doesn't use the expected mannerisms that we have come to expect from similar roles. I really loved his performance and the film in general. Highly recommended.

2 comments:

  1. God, This is such an amazing movie. I am really glad that you have seen it and you liked it. It really strikes a chord with you deep down. And Music...There is one song in this movie - Maa, that is so amazing, so true and so emotional that I never can listen to it completely without turning into a blabbering mess. I think I have only listened to it entirely in theater, never again.

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  2. Oh yeah, "Maa" got my eyes watery for sure! By the time they showed the documentary footage at the end credits, I was crying my eyes out. Such a great film.

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