I don’t remember the last time I got teary eyed for a movie – maybe Life is beautiful. Hindi movies, NOTHING after Anjali. Till TZP.
A beautifully evocative movie about childhood – the real childhood. Not the precocious, cutesy kids that are dished out to us. The often cruel, non-celluloid, non-rose-tinted side of childhood – of bullying peers and impatient teachers, demanding parents and unremitting competition. And the resilient optimism which flourishes inspite of that.
The young protagonist Ishaan’s, is if nothing, real. Imaginative, defiant, vulnerable, torn, strong, childlike (Darsheel is absolutely stunning). There are strong traces of Calvin in the role– the brat who doesn’t fit, extremely imaginative and alternatively exasperating and endearing.
The story, simply and poignantly told. (Black which had a similar broad plot was so full of histrionics that it systematically killed any sympathy).
I loved the attention to little details – Ishaan’s bed – full of toy soldiers (most little boy’s bed usually will have toy soldiers or cars). The fact that he is at the beginning of the movie is always running (I have two little nephews who don’t know how to walk – their mode of commute IS running!). Sitting on the pot, dreaming, oblivious to the time. The fact that little boys will put their hands in gutters and their fingers in their nose and will watch with rapt attention, things which adults take for granted.
I appreciated the fact that Aamir Khan did not make an appearance till half the movie was over (SRK in anything but the first frame? Nah!) – And delivered an understated performance which didn’t overpower Darsheel or take over the movie – allowing Darsheel to be the real star (as an aside, even in the credits, Aamir's name is second!).
The music for most fits in and adds to the narrative rather than taking it on a tangent.
On the flip side, I thought the teachers were caricatures (which teacher has hair coming out of his ears now?) and the parents’ role marginalized a bit – especially after the discovery that he is dyslexic and the pace could have been faster.
But that is nitpicking.
All in all, a must watch film.