Movie Review: Secret Superstar
Ratings: Four stars and beyond
Cast: Aamir Khan, Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Tirth Sharma, Raj Arjun, Shaan and Monali Thakur (guest appearances).
Director: Advait Chandan
Rating: Four stars and beyond
Every Diwali, a string of movies jostle for space to cash on the moolah at the box office and on very rare occasions, a small masterpiece slowly struts its way to stand tall and win hearts. This movie is Secret Superstar, a winner in all aspects, be it the brilliant performances, superbly woven script, screenplay and an endearing charm through the uniquely written characters.
Secret Superstar is a gem that will find its way among the best films churned this year in the Hindi film industry. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it, the ‘Baahubali’ of the B-town.
There is one legend who never ceases to amaze. No prize for guessing, it’s the maverick Aamir Khan who proves once again that he is not just a legendary superstar but knows the pulse of the audience by heart. An actor who has always given a chance to newcomers by lending credibility to good cinema through the sheer belief in a project, be it a Delhi Belly, Dhobi Ghaat or Peepli Live.
Secret Superstar is the story of a middle-class Muslim girl Insia (Zaira Wasim) who secretly nurtures to be a pop idol and she wears a burqa to upload her first song on YouTube. She is helped by her mother Najma (Meher Vij) who incurs the wrath of the husband Raj Arjun, an orthodox and violent man. Secret Superstar narrates Insia’s journey who is helped on her way to stardom by the maverick and narcissist singer, Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan).
The film belongs to Zaira Wasim and as Insia, she is simply terrific, thus proving to be one of the best finds by her mentor Aamir Khan. The girl will go places and case in point is the innocence and vulnerability portrayed with utmost ease.
Meher Vij plays the battered woman Najma where she brings depth and intensity in showcasing her vulnerability. She is simply brilliant. The chemistry between Najma and Zaira as mother-daughter is one of the highs of the movie coupled with the conflict in the climax that has been handled with maturity by director Advait Chandan.
Of course, the romance between Zaira and Tirth Sharma playing Chintan is refreshing and takes us back to the teen days as kids. The director injects freshness in the innocent romance scenes that break monotonous moments if there is any. Raj Arjun delivers a composed and restrained performance as the chauvinist husband.
Coming to the man himself, Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan plays the ‘has been’ singer Shakti Kumar and showcases the various shades of wickedness, crass, lust or loud act in a convincing manner. The costumes, be it, the tacky jeans or tee-shirt may appear stereotypical in places but Aamir Khan lends so much charm to this act to make it one of the coolest characters enacted in recent years. This act is the film’s USP that audience irrespective of age or gender will love. He gives an entirely different shade to the Gabbars or various characters played by Shakti Kapoor. Somehow, Aamir Khan reminds us of his cameo song, I like you like I hate you in Delhi Belly or Ghulam.
Director Advait Chandan gently touches the issues that women face in everyday life and how voices are stifled through violence. The climax scene where Meher Vij gives it to her husband bears a powerful impact that drives home a valid point, look at the aggressor straight in the eyes and show no fear.
The main drawback in the movie is the lack of foot tapping numbers taking into account that Secret Superstar is about pop aspirations, music, and dreams. Except Mein Kaun Hoon and Mere Pyaari Aami, the film lacks the kind of music that gel with the film’s theme and it fails to stay in the mind for a long time. There are few cliché sequences, right from breaking the laptop or father’s plan to force his daughter to get married to a much older man in Saudi Arabia where he is settling for a job.
Secret Superstar comes as a breeze of fresh air that captivates the audience, in particular, the young generation and shows what drama is all about with the right dose of emotions, laughter, and aspirations. Of course, Monali Thakur as herself adds to the freshness of the theme. The movie will pave the way for the rightful place of pop music and define its place in Hindi cinema in years to come. Secret Superstar is path-breaking.