Cast:Zaira Wasim, MeherVij, Aamir Khan
Production:Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Akash Chawla, SujayKutty, B. Shrinivas Rao
Secret Superstar is exactly like the Mithai Ka Dabba that is exchanged during Diwali, you love the sugar dosage but by the time you are done with the box you know you have overindulged.
Secret Superstar is a story of Insiya, a beautiful singer who has to hide her aspirations and dreams from her menacing father. She lives in the internet era and boldly tries to go to lengths to achieve her dream of becoming a singer through adorning a burqa and uploading videos of her singing.
One might think that a cliched story with the age-old melodrama of a small town girl aspiring big in a patriarchal society may fail to pull the strings but this movie hits the right chords and makes the audience root for the girl. Another reason we do that is for the brilliant performance by Zaira Wasim, MeherVij, and Tirth Sharma.
We are constantly shown the adoring mother-daughter relationship and certain character traits of the father so by the time you are into the story you already despise him and wait for a miracle to happen. The breaking of the child's guitar or the physical abuse of the mother didn't add to the story, it was understood and we could have done away with the shot. The sudden twist in the second half where the family is required to move to Saudi and the father plans to marry off Insiya gives them and us an ultimatum which makes the viewers think "now or never".
The burqa often used for symbolizing oppression is used here to support her dreams, hide her identity and therefore become a "secret" superstar. When Insiya tells her mother to run off with her and forget everything else, she mentions that they cannot leave her younger brother, for he will learn the same thing and become the same man his father is now. We fear for the young child and yet at many instances see his tenderness towards his sister and mother both.
Meher shows motherhood's different facet. Even when getting beaten up she makes sure her children do not see it, she is stoic and we immediately want her to win.
This movie has gravity because of every actor's performance, I would especially like to highlight Tirth's. He played the role of Chintan, love-struck for Insiya he played the goofy, studious and helpful boy next door role to perfection. The audience is thrilled when he helps Insiya travel to Mumbai all by her own.
Aamir Khan is a goatish music director who wears tight t-shirts and calls girls "babes". He comes off as hilarious and is the right amount of lightheartedness which the movie needs. Making a mark yet not overshadowing any character has actually made him the star of the movie.
The movie's fault is it's over emotional ending and a (not) winning speech. Sometimes saying little says a lot, we knew who the superstar was and we knew the struggles, all we needed was a end to the sham of a marriage with a strong answer against misogyny.
Watch it for the uplifting spirit of the movie.