Movie Review: Secret Superstar – There’s a dream behind every Burqa

Each of the last three decades has given dull academic students a new career. The 90s saw the advent of ‘reality television stars’, the 2000s popularised the ‘startups’ concept and the last decade gave us the ‘internet sensation’ option. So if your child is good for nothing, you now have three more ditches to fall upon, hoping she/he is in the 1% who come out trumps. Even if it means getting a seat at Donald Trump’s office. The internet makes our dreams endless! Even I maintain this blog site in hope someday a ‘startup’ company fronted by a bunch of punk kids, will pay me a million dollars and buy it!

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Are parents more lenient after TZP?

I wasn’t at all willing to go for Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar having fallen a victim to his commercial tearjerker Taare Zameen Par. TZP is a Bollywood classic, one of the best kids movies made ever in India and had the right message to not discriminate or misunderstand kids with needs. But, coupled with a booming economy, dual parents working and fewer kids produced, post-TZP, parents have gone on a leniency spree. So if a kid throws tantrum these days, the parents now try to ‘understand’ him/her better by agreeing to the demand and in many cases, compensate later, by handing over an iPhone8! A lafaa (Hindi for slap) may have worked better. Spare the lafaa and spoil the child! No wonder, the percentage and count of spoilt brats are exponentially increasing. Taare Zameen Par did increase our leniency, tolerance and understanding levels, but dramatic as Indians are, the ‘increase’ has gone to another extreme.

Your ever-increasing Mobile/Internet bill just got justified

Aamir Khan generally attempts to mix sentimental storeis with ‘message for society’ in his big and small screen products. Personally, I loved his Sarfarosh the most, But Taare Zameen Par, Dangal (had an opposite message to TZP), PK & 3 Idiots would have influenced society more for their ability to touch an individual’s sensitive chord and overall neat packaging. Frankly, any day I would choose to pay for these products than pay for an ordinary Golmaal 4. You will come out of Secret Superstar believing there is power in the internet and that there’s a story behind every burqa. You realise the purpose behind non-stop requests you get from friends to like/share an individuals video, blog or photo. SS will convince you to encourage kids (and adults) to broadcast their talents beyond the housing society annual functions.

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A fantasy tale

One hallmark of an Aamir Khan production is great performances – comes almost like a guarantee certificate. Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij (lovely smile), Raj Arjun and Tirth Sharma – all little-known figures in Bollywood so far – make full use of the opportunity to make an impression in a quality product. Other hallmarks of an Aamir Khan production – a tyrant father, Aamir in a remixed avatar, some fantasy and moist eyes are all there too.

The fantasy element can’t be ignored. I can assure you, your first YouTube video or blog won’t get you 11k likes, no matter how good it is. Unless you are paying 1000USD to a Gurgaon or Pune based I.T. company to help generate likes and shares. A 15yr old travelling alone to Mumbai via flight in hope of meeting a top music director isn’t advisable either. Also, the mother, who is routinely beaten black and blue, rears her head up, finally, for a broken guitar, is pure fairy tale material.

What’s engaging

What’s realistic is Aamir Khan doing the role of a lusty music director who uses sexy groans as punctuation in every lyrics paragraph. He brings the movie to life and laughter. Another well-written character is the school boyfriend (Chintan) who selflessly chases the girl and willing to do anything for her. It’s a nice parallel, that for every tyrant father there is a nice school friend balancing the protagonist’s life.

Rating: 3.5/5 (averaged with family)

Verdict: Secret Superstar is a good one time watch although I feel satellite television viewing will give much better experience as there are no major visuals to admire on the big screen. This genre of films are rare, pioneered by Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal, over a decade ago. Hence, must be encouraged. Tuesday (mid-week) evening, a central Singapore theatre had 80% seats occupied, so the product is getting the due appreciation. My kids enjoyed the movie a lot.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Secret Superstar – There’s a dream behind every Burqa

  1. Such movies are more likely to be appreciated on satellite television or on digital platforms because the domestic violence scenes are not for the faint-hearted. But, yes it is a fantasy tale and a fantasy tale told in a good way. I loved the climax where the burqa was thrown away and she came out being her own person. It was a telling statement about the plight women not just Muslim have to go through.

    Liked by 1 person

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