Heaven on earth?
It would be hard to fault Taare Zameen Par’s intentions. It works remarkably well both as education and as art. It takes the familiar genre of story-telling in which the obvious disability of the protagonist is redeemed by a spectacular but hitherto unknown talent. The film spans a year in the life of eight-year-old Ishaan (Darshan Safary) whose dyslexia threatens to overwhelm his life. After repeated failing to perform, he is parceled off to a boarding school where he wilts under its strict discipline even while feeling abandoned by his parents. Deliverance comes in the form of a substitute art teacher, Ram Nikhumb (Aamir Khan), who helps the child rediscover himself through his gift for painting. What saves this film from becoming clichéd is that TZP deals with disability not merely as a problem but as an experience of life. The film makes a sincere attempt to see the world through Ishaan’s eyes. His painful transformation from a spirited and unrepentant “problem child” to a defeated recluse is the most powerful part of the film.
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