Cogitating the Movie: Taare Zameen Par

Aamir Khan (famously known for his role Rancho in  the movie 3 idiots) once again impresses me with a very inspiring movie Taare Zameen Par (translation: Stars on Earth). The story is about Ishan, an eight-year-old boy who has problems dealing with his social life as well as his academic life. He constantly flunks examinations, gets punished and humiliated by teachers and be misunderstood by his peers. Ishan has a strict disciplinary father who expects his sons to excel in their academics, a caring mother and an overachiever brother. Because of his poor academic performance, his father sends him to a boarding school which only exacerbates his situation due to the school’s strict disciplinary policy and his homesickness. That is until he meets, Nikumbh (Aamir Khan, who portrays another inspiring character), a substitute art teacher who teaches differently from all the other teachers in school and his predecessor.

Ishan catches Nikumbh’s attention because of his indifference towards others. Nikumbh later on discovers that Ishan has been suffering from dyslexia, a learning disability that impairs one’s ability to comprehend and process letters; thus, the difficulty in reading and writing. To reach out to Ishan and shed him a light of hope (not the cigarette), Nikumbh introduces to the class famous people who is suffering from the same disability as him.

During his discussion, I was simply awed at the discovery that the famous Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and the great sculptor Picasso were dyslexic. To be more convinced, I researched for myself and found out that aside from those four famous geniuses that Nikumbh introduced to the children, I found that there were many others, icons and celebrities I idolized struggled from dyslexia and overcome it. Famous people like Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, Mozart, Cher, Tom Cruise and a lot more (click list here).

The film has a bit of similarity to ‘3 Idiots‘, but of course, the plot is entirely different from each other. I just saw that in both films, they portray the world as a pool of competition and an embodiment of Darwin’s theory of natural selection: the survival of the fittest. While in 3 idiots, Virus compares the world to that of a Koel, laying her nest on another bird’s nest and pushing the other eggs away. In this movie, the world thrives in three pillars: order, discipline and labour. Both films depict that life is a race, and in order to survive, you must have the highest grade and the highest rank. But in both films,  the protagonist’s (Aamir Khan’s role) shows his principled opposition to the world’s notion. For that, I am truly inspired by Aamir Khan right now. I wonder if he is really like Rancho or Nikumbh in real life.

This movie, aside from its similar theme to 3 idiots focuses also on the family and the value of a child and his potentials. Nikumbh convinces Ishan’s father that he should see beyond what the world expects of children and look deep inside and find Ishan’s true potentials. Ishan’s father, a dominating, very strict patriarch was left speechless when Nikumbh tells him about what villagers in Solomon islands do to deforest. He says that the villagers there have a unique way of cutting trees. Instead of the usual cutting, they would gather all those trees and shoot insults and verbal abuses at them. In a few days, the trees die on their own. I don’t know if this is really true in Solomon islands, but I see the metaphor behind it in disciplining children. Raise a child in abuse and insult, and slowly kill him in the process. Children should be reared in love and appreciation and as a parent, you might rule with an iron fist, but a child is not mature enough to equate your austerity with love. He might misinterpret your strictness for being unloved. Yes, my dear parents, it’s okay to discipline children, but it would be also nice that you show your appreciation to them. It’s not all the time it’s you who get to hear the words I love you, or sorry or thank you. Sometimes, children need to hear those words from you, too, just so that they will feel you love them. Am I right? or Am I right?

Over all, the movie was really great. It made me cry a little (I’m such a crybaby. Just a few hours before I watched the movie, I cried watching Rascal Flatts music videos). It’s a movie, I definitely recommend for the whole family to watch. I would gladly recommend it to my father, who at times, just couldn’t really show his appreciation of me, though I’m not really bitter about that. The movie has inspired me to paint again, too. I think I missed out in my summary that despite Ishan’s difficulty in reading, writing and numbers, he’s actually a very skilled painter. I remembered that in my high school days, I used to paint and draw a lot and I even won awards to testify to my skills. Now, I’m evaluating myself and realizing that I had not nurtured those skills these past years. Maybe, I’m driven by the world’s notion of success that I had let go of my talents (hopefully, this is not the case). But I promise now, I have to get back to painting before I regret anything. At least for now, it’s not too late to nurture what I almost lost.



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