DVD Review: Taare Zameen Par

August 09, 2008
Cine Cynic

The DVD of Aamir Khan's Taare Zamee Par hit the Indian stores recently. Aamir wrote in his blog that Walt Disney, which bought the distribution rights in U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada, will however take another three more months to release in these countries.

In school, I had a classmate who could never read without making funny mistakes. He drew pencil sketches and painted better than anybody else in the class. None of the students and teachers were mean to him. I confess, however, to have laughed at him during most reading sessions along with other students. I now wonder whether he was dyslexic. Dyslexia, the inability to learn to read, is surprisingly common and does often go undiagnosed.

Ishaan Awasthi is an eight-year-old boy with a vivid and peculiar imagination, and with a "crippling" disability to learn in the traditional manner. This disability—which some of the audience might guess as a textbook case of dyslexia—alienates, torments, punishes, frustrates and ultimately pushes the young soul towards suicide.

This takes place in a gradual progression over a period of 150 minutes and is something that we won't complain about. How the boy gets rescued and his happiness restored forms the rest of the story. Filled with vibrant colors and well-used CGI, Taare Zameen Par is a movie that keeps our hearts heavy even days after watching it.

Darsheel Safary has a potential to become a great actor. Apart from pulling off difficult scenes like holding back tears from spilling out of his brimming eyes, it is his understanding of Ishaan's character that is most commendable. Sachet Engineer as Dada is good too. A big brother who is protective, supportive, but mostly helpless owing to his own young age is a very realistic and well-played character.

Personally, having a soft corner for mother-child relationships, Tisca Chopra made a special impression. She provides solid support to the movie as Maya, Ishaan's mother, making us feel the plight of every loving but concerned mother, without going overboard. Darsheel and Tisca were able to extract copious amounts of water from my eyes in every scene they missed each other (which is the entire second half).

Aamir Khan donned the hats of director and Ishaan's god-sent teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh. While directing, he was able to use his own experience as an actor to milk out memorable performances from the cast. I only wish that someone else played Nikumbh. However well Aamir might have acted, I could sense the undeniable presence of a star power, especially glaring itself through the hip costumes. An actor without such star presence, who could look more like a teacher, would have filled us with hope that there are teachers in our schools who care.

Full credit goes to Amol Gupte and Deepa Bhatia. It is their brainchild, their labor of love. The couple shared the roles of writer, creative director, researcher and editor.

The movie has its cheesy elements but is still very original, starting with its theme concerning a dyslexic child. It succeeds on a very important level in that it makes us think, not just feel nostalgic. My only complaint is the movie's tagline, but let us take that next week.

Cine Cynic writes about movies, only on Desicritics because no one else will publish such criticism. The author also contributes to a few tech blogs, and in the remaining free time pens short stories.
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Cindy Baumert
August 13, 2008
08:26 AM

There is a new invention, the RAD Prism, that allows people with symptoms of dyslexia to perceive the written word correctly. Learn more about it at View media coverage on the website on on at

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