When I was in Std. II A, there was a guy who sat behind me. Jay Shah. He was tall, lanky, and had shaggy hair that fell all over his face. He lived five buildings away from me and traveled in the same bus. His Mom used to tell me all the time to sit with him more, spend my lunches with him and "influence" him.
He had failed in second grade twice.
His mom used to take my books to complete his classwork. He could never pay attention in class and was always more interested in random, arbit things. The teacher used to go crazy explaining sums and words and sentences to him. He could never recite the poetry. Never paint a picture complete. I thought of him as a friend in the beginning. I would try to explain things to him, finish his pictures, recite poetry to him. I gave up when he failed again. I moved to the next class. III A. He left school. I saw him on my street a few times. We would excitedly talk the first couple of times. Then, it was just a wave. And then we went our way. I heard he was shifted to a "Special School".
Since the first grade, there was another guy in my class. Very bright. Always sat in the first bench. Not a ranker, but intelligent. Slow, but smart. He had some physical handicap. But his mother pushed him. He graduated from school with the rest of us. Apparently, he went to science college, and graduated with a BSc. I do not know here he is, but I see him around in the Social Networking forums. He recently added me on all of those, and on GChat and more.
He looks like he is successful in whatever he is doing.
Taare Zameen Par is about one child a little more than that. A child with a serious learning disability, which no one seems to recognize and which the Indian Schooling system pegs down as mischief, naughtiness and arrogance combined with laziness and a lack of willingness to learn.
It talks about Inu, Ishaan Awasthi, his unchanneled, unbridled intelligence. But the teachers in his school, his father and even his mother to an extent do not see it. When they look at him all they see is a failure and a dumb child.
Aamir Khan, as Ram Nikumbh, his new art teacher sees his potential, and identifies with it, because he too was a dyslexic student, misunderstood by his parents as a kid. Nikumbh turns the boy's life around and shows everyone his potential.
Taare Zameen Par, is a must watch. It's a little slow in the beginning, but picks up lace once Aamir arrives (obviously). The boy, Darshan Zhaveri, I think, has a very few lines in the entire film. Maybe that's why he manages to pull out such a stellar job. Too many dialogues would have ruined his character. The mother, Tisca Chopra, and the elder son, were very believable and acted really well. The father was probably chosen to play this part because of his very fatherly, and ugly looks. Ishaan's friend Rajan was a characted well played too.
All in all, a colorful movie, with beautiful songs, lovely acting and a touching story. And a movie dedicated to Jay Shah, wherever he is. And the second guy's success.