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Opinion: Advait Chandan’s Secret Superstar is a Commendation of Indian Small Town Middle-Class Mothers, Daughters and their Dreams.
Advait Chandan with Secret Superstar has smashed a six on the very first ball, yes his direction is something which took me by surprise. His craft as the Helmer is definitely not of a debutant for sure. He has done a great job with his direction and not to forget the script he wrote is so relatable and the Indian middle class will connect with it big time and not only that, all the true cinema lovers will admire it too. The film is a roller coaster ride of various emotions and very intelligently made, it talks about domestic violence and female foeticide, India registers the most number of cases in both these menacing acts. It also talks about the dreams of small-town kids and the lives of mothers in the country but never preaches or over talks about anything. Secret Superstar is primarily a musical that is empowering, enriching, and entertaining. The cinematography of Anil Mehta is top-notch and it feels like we are watching the story of our neighborhood in Baroda, the place where the proceedings of the film take place. The screenplay looks seasoned and makes us completely immersed in the film. The music by Amit Trivedi is a treat and grows with time, somehow the songs in the film while watching feel like have come to life. The lyrics by Kausar Munir is a stroke of genius, the words are lucid because it is being penned by a teenager in the film which gives more authenticity to the lead character and provides maximum impact. The film does have some minuses, the work of editing by Hemanti Sarkar is good but could have been better as the film’s length looks stretched here and there in places and another negative I found is in the presentation of small-town girl’s rise to fame which is facile to a certain extent, you don’t get the success that easy.
But again making an entertaining movie with a 15-year-old girl as the protagonist is tough as hell yet Advait Chandan has done it with maturity and full control. Secret Superstar is a great mix of society’s ground reality and Cinema’s escapism. The above mentioned two glitches are hardly a road bump when we look at the full picture. The best part about this wonderful film, are the performances, the main four characters beginning with the superlative Zaira Wasim who plays Insia Malik is outstanding. If she was brilliant in Dangal as young Geeta, then here she pulls the entire film on her shoulders with ease and command, she has a very bright future ahead. Then comes Meher Vij as Nazma Malik, the mother of Insia, she is very good and sweet to look at, Raj Arjun as Farookh Malik, Insia’s father is in top form, he is deadly and authentic. You will fall in love with Tirth Sharma as Chintan Parekh, the sweet love story between him and Insia will take you back to your childhood first love, Tirth seems a born actor, he is so natural. Don’t worry, I am going to talk about the man, the megastar Aamir Khan. He as an ill-behaved fading music director Shakti Kumar is incomparable, let me tell you the fact that he has the screen time of just 20 minutes and those twenty-odd minutes are priceless. He plays this over the top character with flair and yet gives it a human layer, you will clap and laugh throughout when he is on screen. He does very few films and that’s why this 20 minutes cameo is as precious as a ruby stone for Indian cinema. Again Khan’s script sense impressed me, how this man every single time delivers and bestows the Industry with new talents. Aamir being one of the biggest superstars in the world never shies away from taking the back seat and let others shine, which makes him what he is today. Advait Chandan has used Khan’s face very smartly, people will come to see him and will walk away with a super product. So, go with your family especially with your mother, and watch this beautiful and sensible Diwali gift from Aamir Khan Productions. I’ll go with 4 stars, we need more Aamir Khans in the industry who can give the push to important films like this.