Banner: Aamir Khan Productions
Producers: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Akash Chawla, Sujay Kutty, B. Shrinivas Rao
Director: Advait Chandan
Cast: Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Aamir
Khan, Raj Arjun
Writer: Advait Chandan
Music: Amit Trivedi
A master at blending content with commercial elements and a message, Aamir Khan never fails to deliver on the promise of a blockbuster. The only question is – what surprise does the actor-filmmaker have in store this time?
Unlike his earlier films, Khan plays an extended cameo in Secret Superstar, a film that features a list of new names. Also featuring a debuant director, Advait Chandan, watching Secret Superstar is a scintillating experience. The film scores with flying colours in every department – concept, writing, dialogue, treatment of the script, music (although the music hasn’t yet become a rage, it will, now that the movie has released) and, above all, its performances. Every actor disappears into their respective characters, thus setting the screen on fire. And, of course, there’s Khan himself. master at blending content with commercial elements and a message, Aamir Khan never fails to deliver on the promise of a blockbuster. The only question is – what surprise does the actor-filmmaker have in store this time?
Chandan has not only pulled off this film with aplomb but extracted the right performances from every actor. If the movie tends to be a tad lengthy, at 150 minutes, you don’t really mind, thanks to the film’s content.
The film is about Insia Malik, a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Baroda who dreams of becoming a singer. However, her spirit is ripped apart because of her mother’s violent marriage. Yet, despite her troubles, her mother is very protective of her daughter. She tries her best to ensure her daughter fulfils her dream but her efforts are thwarted by the father. How the mother and daughter manage to realise their dreams against all odds is what the movie is about.
Most films take their own sweet time to get to the actual plot but, in Secret Superstar, you are introduced to the struggles confronting the mother-daughter duo as soon as the opening credits conclude. In the opening shot of the film, the mother arrives at her daughter’s school to pick her up and it is clear she is nursing an injury. The daughter notices the bruise and the pain on their faces melts your heart. Soon, you are introduced to the father who works very hard but treats his wife like a maid.
Another plus is that while the mother-daughter grapple with their problems, neither is shown as helpless. Their positive approach to their predicament and life in general is the biggest USP of this film. After all, the underlying message of Secret Superstar is that you must chase your dreams and never lose hope. This is the 21st century version of the quintessential Bollywood theme of good triumphing over evil, sans melodrama.
As mentioned earlier, the screenplay, dialogue and, of course, the treatment of the film sets this movie apart from the rest. One moment, it brings tears to your eyes, the very next, you can’t help but smile. Of course, you burst out laughing whenever Aamir Khan appears on screen.
The relationship between the characters is the other USP of the film – between mother-daughter, sister-brother, mother-son, friends and, above all, the rapport between an aspiring singer and her to-be mentor, a music director.
Choosing Secret Superstar as his debut film was a smart choice by Chandan. He has delivered a movie that is gripping, emotional and entertaining. Cinematography is very good as is the background score. Special mention to the dialogue writer. The music isn’t chart-busting but it takes the story of the film forward and is very relatable. Amit Trivedi is bang on, once again, with his music. As far as editing goes, the film is definitely lengthy but it is justified, considering the narrative and what the director wants to convey. Also, kudos to lyricist Kausar Munir.
Performance-wise, Zaira Wasim as the doting daughter is very cute and wins your heart. She performs like a veteran even at such a young age. Definitely an award-winning performance! The performance of the mother, Meher Vij, is the soul of the film. Another award-winning performance. The brother, Guddu, is adorable. Tirth Sharma, who plays Zaira’s friend, is lovable and keeps you entertained. Raj Arjun as the father is mind-blowing. Last but not least, Aamir Khan, in an extended cameo, is the anchor of the film. In a word, he is OUTSTANDING!
Verdict: Don’t miss this super hit gem!