Taare Zameen Par / Like Stars On Earth

This educational, playful, and above all moving film about a boy with a learning disorder and an innovative teacher who discovers his hidden talent, is the directorial debut of famous Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. Through this film he revealed his remarkable creativity and filmmaking skills, which enabled him to depict a child’s perception of the world.

Trailer Taare Zameen Par with English subtitles.

2007 – 165 min – drama
Directed by: Aamir Khan, Amole Gupte
Cast: Darsheel Safary, Aamir Khan, Tanay Chheda
Language: Hindi
Subtitles: Czech, English
Format: DCP

Even back at a time when Bollywood was organized on the basis of oral agreements and actors filmed several movies at the same time without much preparation, Aamir Khan had already earned the reputation for being a perfectionist, who is fully dedicated to his roles and carefully chooses filmmakers with whom to cooperate. He later also proved to be a capable producer – his very first work as a producer, Lagaan (2001), made it to the Oscar nomination. With Taare Zameen Par he then revealed significant directorial talent.

Originally he was supposed to act only as producer and actor in the impressive melodrama about the relationship between a boy suffering from dyslexia (and probably also hyperkinetic disorder), while the directorial position was taken by experienced teacher and author of the screenplay Amole Gupte. However Khan was not satisfied with Gupte’s directorial work, and so they agreed he would replace Gupte in this role.

The result is a skillfully shot film, which relies on all the traditional Bollywood methods, but it incorporates them into the whole in a refreshing and innovative way. This is most visible during the creatively stylized song scenes, which Khan uses to effectively illustrate the emotional state of the main child hero Ishaan (played by virtuoso Darsheela Safary). The song Maa shows his sadness and frustration, Mera Jahaan his curiosity and ability to enjoy the seemingly ordinary things, and the especially funny Jame Raho shows how Ishaan’s perception and behavior deviates from established social routines.

Taare Zameen Par doesn’t hide the fact that it is an edifying film and it doesn’t hesitate to openly educate viewers. The extraordinary response it produced proves that it also works as an entertaining drama. It results mainly from the ability of the creators to capture the subjective point of view on the world of perceptive and sensitive Ishaan.

Khan and Gupte’s film is not just about dyslexia, it also covers much broader social issues, which India must deal with in the era of economic development and transition to a liberal market system – strong competition and a tendency to evaluate people according to preset charts, which leaves little room to appreciate the individual strengths of each individual.

Author: Miroslav Libicher

About the directors

Amole Gupte (born 1962) is mainly known as a Director for his films Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Stanley Ka Dabba (screened at the festival in Prague in 2011). He is also an actor and has played in films such as Kaminey or Singham Returns. He is the chairperson of the Children’s Film Society, India, since 2012.

Aamir Khan was born on March 14th 1965 in Mumbai. He is an Indian film actor, director, screenwriter, producer and television presenter. He started his career as a child artist, but his renown came in 1988 with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which propelled him to stardom. Among his most successful films are Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Fanaa (2006) or 3 Idiots (2009). Through his successful career in Hindi films, Khan has established himself as one of the most popular and influential actors of Indian cinema. He is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including four National Film Awards and seven Filmfare Awards.