I finally went to see Taare Zameen Par (2007) tonight. I won’t review the movie, just give you a few thoughts. I don’t like teacher-hero themed movies. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher by trade, and a special ed. teacher in an inner-city school at that. So when people find out my job I usually hear them gush, “Oh that’s soo great! You must be soooo patient, that’s sooo nice!” And in Hindi I think to myself, “Bas!” So I just laugh off movies like Dangerous Minds (1995), and that one where the black principal walks around with a baseball bat, forget the name, or the one where the Latino teacher teaches the eses physics and other smart stuff. There are a couple exceptions though, I like To Sir, with Love (1966) and Blackboard Jungle (1955). I remember last fall when Freedom Writers (2007) came out we could get free tickets as teachers. The principal tentatively asked if some of us teachers planned to go and we all burst out laughing and said, “NO!” But Bollywood is a different story. We know Bollywood can be shamelessly sentimental, and melodramatic, and so are most teacher-hero movies, so I wondered about how I’d respond to Taare Zameen Par, because after all it’s a teacher-hero flick. Would the theme I detest be balanced out because it’s Bollywood? Well I cried immediately and continued to cry through most of the movie. I knew I was being taken for a ride, but I gave in. I felt like A. R. Rahman was sitting right next to me playing his heavenly sentimental music the whole while. That’s how much I cried! The main character, Darsheel Safary, is beautiful. Half way into the movie, when Aamir Khan finally appeared, he wore lots of cool designer jeans. I loved the scene where Aamir is breaking down dyslexia to the boy’s parents. The dad says, “You think mere beta retarded hai? Abnormal hai?” Loved the pageant at the special needs school “Tulips,” with the Down syndrome kid in sequins. Loved it!
After the movie I went over to Barnes & Noble to buy Bollywood: A History by Mihir Bose because I’ve checked it out of the library twice, and decided I must have my very own copy. A couple people in line seemed to look askance at me. I thought it was odd, until I went in the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror, looking like I’d been crying for 3 hours, because I HAD BEEN! They maybe thought poor Sita-ji was a victim of extreme holiday blues, or a death in the family, or maybe even domestic violence or a tragic breakup. But it was simply the impact of Aamir Khan. How could I explain that? Impossible! So don’t go public after the movie, lay low.
Finally, today’s video “Music Release – Taare Zameen Par by Shammi Kapoor,” thanks to YouTuber hijackchirag :