Movie Review – Secret Superstar

 There are two rules I strictly follow when it comes to Bollywood.
First, skip all the movies that have anything to do with Salman Khan. No matter how good the reviews are. Or how big the claims his ardent fans are making about the movie. Or even if I’m totally free and have nothing else to do on the release week. Simply don’t watch it. Don’t think twice. Come what may. Period.
On the other hand, my second rule is a reverse rule to the first one. Which I think is applicable for most of the Bollywood Cinema lovers in our country. It has to do with Aamir Khan’s movies. It says to grab the first opportunity you get to watch an Aamir Khan movie. Join the first group who is going to the theater. Even if it requires making some not so major changes in your schedule. Just go for it.
 And more often than not, it’s been worthwhile sticking to these rules, especially the second one.
Secret Superstar is the latest movie from Aamir Khan’s Production House. It is a story about a girl trying to follow her dreams of becoming a singer – A Superstar. But making it difficult for her is her father who despises her love for music, in fact despises her for being a girl.
His father’s thinking about a girl child is the same thinking which makes parents hope (even in this age) for a son rather than a daughter. Which considers girls as a bane, a bad luck. Which considers girls education as an end to get them married, rather making them independent thinking individual.
It is the same thought process that is rooted in the fictions created by a rotten thinking that has nothing to do with culture or religion.
Insiya (of Dangal Fame) is a teenager from Vadodara who dreams of becoming a famous singer. Her mother indulges her by gifting her a guitar and later buying a laptop which Insiya uses to fan her dreams by uploading her music videos on YouTube. All this is fine but her father is an extremely traditional man who sees her as a burden. Who can’t fathom her daughter doing anything more but completing her school and getting married to a man twice her age.
Insiya’s love for music and her father’s archaic thinking is the central conflict of the story.
The plot has a similar story arch as that of Dangal. A parent (in this case mother) who goes out of their way (and beyond what society normally would allow) to get success for their children.
But while in case of Dangal the effort came out from the heart of the characters, and the story made us root for the underdogs, Secret Superstar falls to make you feel the passion with which Insiya wanted music.
Movie has its moments. Raj Arun’s characterization of an ill-tempered father is quite good. At times brutal. But it falls short of Ronit Roy’s bone-chilling portrayal of a father whose presence felt like an iron grip around his son’s dreams.
Zaira Wasim’s portrayal of Iniya extremely praiseworthy. Especially in the scene where she confronts her mother accusing her of weak and stupid to be still tied to a person who has made their life nothing short of hell. She has a way to go.
But the narration fell short and is the main culprit. because of which movie falls short of becoming another Dangal. In the first half story pace is slow, and scenes rather superficial. For a long time, the story jogs forward at a predictable pace. Without creating that rapt attention quality which Dangal could manage to create from beginning to the end.
Aamir Khan’s portrayal of eccentric music composer (a parody on Anu Malik and to some extent Mika), infused some pace and a comic relief to the story.
The movie is good and would strike a chord with many. It is able to bring out the tension in a family where man sees himself as a king, consider children as a means. And the fear in which a woman lives in this suffocating environment. But it fails to create a powerful narration that was needed to handle a sensitive topic like this.

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