I have to admit to two things first off: one, is that it took me a little while to get into this film. I started watching it several times before I was finally able to sit through it—as I said to Shweta, I think perhaps as a teenager I saw too many ABC After School Specials which dealt exceedingly earnestly with serious issues that kids face. They had titles like “Daddy Drinks Like A Fish” and “Is My Sister Dead Because Of Me?” (okay, I made those up, but the real ones were pretty close).
This brings me to admission number two, which is that anything exceedingly earnest makes me want to run away screaming. When people have an “important” point to make, usually any kind of nuance or subtlety is tossed away in favor of heavy ammo. I hate being hit over the head with a blunt object.
While I did find TZP somewhat guilty of this, several things conspired to engage me, and by the hour and twenty-six minute mark I was in tears. As nearly everyone has pointed out, Darsheel Safary (Ishaan) has possibly one of the most expressive faces in the history of the world.
This makes it impossible not to fall in love with him. How all the adults around him fail to read that face is somewhat incomprehensible to me. I mean, I chose not to become a mother or a school teacher because I figured my tolerance and understanding for kids was probably too low for me to be much good at either, but even I can see Ishaan’s pain and fear and frustration.
His journey through misunderstanding, isolation, rebellion and finally withdrawal is really sad, but of course makes his eventual emergence into his own so rewarding. Just a great performance!
His “bindaas” bravado made me laugh, too.
I was also captivated by how clearly and creatively symptoms of dyslexia are pictured with marvelous special effects—an excellent example of how sfx can be used to really enhance a story (as opposed to their more often gratuitous “hey look what we can do!” usage).
Beyond that, it is just beautifully photographed in general; I wanted to capture a screen shot every other minute!
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s songs are wonderful, and used very effectively throughout as well. They add depth to characters and situations, and carry the story forward. “Bum Bum Bhole” is a favorite, mostly because it’s fun to watch Aamir shake his moneymaker. Yes, I am shallow.
I related to several things on a personal level as well (no I’m not dyslexic). I had a teacher who would throw chalk at us when we weren’t paying attention, too! It hurt! More than that is that drawing and painting was something I lost myself in when life was not as happy as I wanted it to be. The Art Mela made me want to dig out my colored pencils and dive back in. Maybe I will.
And I have an idea for Aamir’s next directorial venture: child safety.
India isn’t as responsible about that as it could be.