Watched Taare Zameen Par after a lot of glowing reviews and feedback. But it was Darsheel Safary's bunny teeth that pulled me into the theatre on a Sunday afternoon. TPZ is the story of Ishaan, a seemingly misfit boy who's spirit is almost broken down by the demands of uber-competitive today's education system.
The first half of the movie is wonderful - we get introduced to an adorable 8-year old who is not quite the model child, but one with a lot of spunk. Ishaan's world is slightly different, its ruled by colours and feeling - a sensory world that has little room for mundane, everyday things such as studies and homework. Ishaan is more interested in the bird outside the window and the letters in his books keep swimming out of reach. Aamir Khan does admirable work in letting us get a glimpse of Ishaan's world, his day away from school is simply brilliant. But Aamir is trying to make a serious movie here, with a message and all that jazz. So we get highly caricatured parents who try their best to whip (not literally) their wayward son into shape all through.
Enter Aamir Khan as this extra-sensitive, overemotional art teacher who takes it upon himself to bring Ishaan back into the light. Or something like that. And the movie begins to slide into preaching mode. To paraphrase G, the movie 'underestimates the viewer's intelligence'. We know how the system works here, we know about pressure on school kids, we are aware that parents can be demanding. But Aamir goes overboard, I wanted to hurl a brick at Aamir whenever he got preachy with the father (Vipin Sharma), who is treated pretty unjustly here. He is portrayed as the guy who scowls when his elder son fails to win a tennis tournament and we are supposed to believe that he has no affection for Ishaan because he's not an achiever. For a movie that stresses on the demand placed on kids to be achievers, its strange that Ishaan's redemption (and parental acceptance) comes from a damn good achievement. Aamir, if you want to make a point, then stick to it, don't dilute your own message!
That said, I loved Darsheel Safary. That kid is amazing!He simply rules in the first half (the focus shifts to Aamir in the second). That expression on his face where he finds out his father is just fooling him about going away forever - priceless! Darsheel is the heart and soul of TPZ. Him, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music. Those guys have done a fabulous job again.
Verdict: Not bad, would have been better if it hadn't been so preachy!