aare Zameen Par (titled "Like Stars on Earth" in English) is a 2007 Indian film directed by Aamir Khan and produced by Aamir Khan Productions. The movie tells the story of an 8-year-old boy named Ishaan who is struggling with dyslexia and how he overcomes his difficulties with the help of his new art teacher.
There are several reasons why this movie stands out and has received critical acclaim:
- Sensitivity to the issue of dyslexia: Taare Zameen Par was one of the first Bollywood films to deal with the issue of dyslexia, and it did so in a very sensitive and empathetic way. The movie helped raise awareness about the condition and showed how it can affect a child's life.
- Emphasis on the importance of education: The film highlights the importance of education, not only in terms of academic achievement but also in terms of emotional and social development. The character of Ishaan struggles in school because of his dyslexia, but his art teacher recognizes his talent and helps him develop his skills.
- Aamir Khan's direction: Aamir Khan, who directed the movie, is known for his attention to detail and his ability to tell compelling stories. He uses a range of techniques, including animation, to depict Ishaan's internal world and make the movie more visually engaging.
- Strong performances: The performances of the lead actors, Darsheel Safary (who played Ishaan) and Aamir Khan (who played the art teacher), were widely praised. Both actors brought depth and nuance to their roles and helped to make the characters feel real and relatable.
What problems in education are highlighted in this movie
- Lack of awareness about learning disabilities: The movie highlights how many people, including teachers and parents, may not be aware of learning disabilities like dyslexia. As a result, children with such disabilities may struggle in school and not receive the support they need to succeed.
- Emphasis on academic achievement: The movie also highlights how there is often too much emphasis placed on academic achievement, to the exclusion of other important areas of development. This can create a stressful and competitive environment in schools, which may not be conducive to learning for all students.
- Rote learning: The movie shows how rote learning can be ineffective for some students, particularly those with learning disabilities or different learning styles. Ishaan struggles with rote learning and traditional methods of teaching, which makes it difficult for him to succeed in school.
- Lack of individual attention: The movie highlights how classrooms can be overcrowded and teachers may not be able to give individual attention to each student. This can be particularly challenging for students who need extra support or have different learning styles.
The reason most Indian families can relate to the movie Taare Zameen Par
- Pressure to excel in academics-Indian society places a lot of emphasis on academic achievement, and many students feel the pressure to excel in school. The movie highlights how this pressure can be overwhelming for some students and how it can affect their emotional well-being. Lack of awareness about learning disabilities: Dyslexia is a condition that affects many people, but there is still a lack of awareness about it in India. The movie highlights how many children with dyslexia may struggle in school and not receive the support they need to succeed.
- Typical families where only high achievers are appreciated- Taare Zameen Par also touches on the issue of traditional Indian families where only high achievers are appreciated. In most families, academic achievement is highly valued, and children are often expected to excel in school. The movie portrays Ishaan's parents as being disappointed with his poor academic performance and not understanding his learning disability. They compare him unfavorably to his older brother, who is an academic high achiever and does not recognize his talents in other areas, such as art.
- Comparison Between Siblings- The movie depicts Ishaan's older brother as a high-achiever in academics and sports, which makes Ishaan feel even more inadequate and inferior. He is constantly compared to his brother, and his parents and teachers often hold him up to the same standards, even though he has a learning disability. This comparison between siblings is a common phenomenon in many Indian families, where the older child is often seen as the benchmark for the younger one. This can create a sense of pressure and competition between siblings, which can be detrimental to their relationship and overall well-being.
- A strict father and a mother who does not have much say- the movie Taare Zameen Par also portrays the typical Indian family structure, where the father is strict and authoritarian, and the mother does not have much say in family matters. Ishaan's father is depicted as a no-nonsense disciplinarian who places a lot of emphasis on academic achievement and expects his son to conform to his expectations. He is not very understanding of Ishaan's learning disability and does not realize the impact of his strictness on his son's emotional well-being. On the other hand, Ishaan's mother is shown as being more empathetic and understanding of her son's struggles.
- Boarding School as a solution- The movie shows Ishaan's parents sending him to a boarding school in the hope that it would help him with his learning disability. It's a common belief that sending indisciplined or underachieving children to boarding schools or hostels can solve their problems. Ishaan's parents consider sending him to a boarding school as a way to discipline him and make him more responsible. They believe that the strict discipline and academic rigor of the boarding school will help him to improve his academic performance and behavior.
- Imagination and creativity are not being appreciated in schools- This movie highlights the issue of how imagination and creativity are not given due importance in the traditional Indian education system. Ishaan is a child with a vivid imagination and a natural flair for the arts, but his school is focused solely on academic performance and does not recognize his talents in other areas. His art teacher is the only one who recognizes his artistic abilities and encourages him to explore his creativity. This is a common issue in the Indian education system, where there is a heavy emphasis on rote learning and academic achievement, and little attention is given to the arts or creative pursuits.
- Teachers fail to understand kids who might be different from others in the class- Taare Zameen Par also highlights the issue of how teachers may fail to understand children who may be different from others in the class. Ishaan's struggle with dyslexia goes unnoticed by his teachers, who mistake his difficulty with reading and writing as a lack of effort or discipline. They criticize him for being lazy and disruptive in class and fail to recognize the underlying issue. This is a common problem in the education system, where teachers are often overburdened and may not have the resources or training to identify and address learning disabilities. As a result, many children who may be struggling with such issues may go unnoticed and may not receive the support and intervention they require
- Many parents have a narrow understanding of success for their kids- This narrow view of success often leads to placing undue pressure on children to perform well in school and can result in feelings of shame and disappointment when children do not meet these expectations. The movie Ishaan's father mentions in the movie that if he keeps failing he will not have a future. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including societal pressure to achieve success, personal expectations and desires for their children, or a fear of their child's prospects.
I am surely coming from times when academic performance was the only means of measuring success and creativity was not given much importance, many of us can relate to the movie in some way. This encourages us to stand up for our beliefs and take a different route than the traditional one even if it means we have to oppose societal expectations and bias. It also highlights how important it is for parents, teachers, and society as a whole to recognize the importance of creativity and imagination in children's learning process as well as their overall development.
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