Is Aamir Khan all hype? Is he a media created myth? Why is he so approachable and humble when you meet him, when you expect him to be arrogant? You could talk to him with just your eyes? that’s exactly what i did after watching TZP, i couldn’t talk so i just said later. I never thought Aamir the filmmaker would be as brilliant as Aamir the choicemaker, but the my accompanying friend who is also my fan said after the movie, from now and for now Aamir is my favourite filmmaker.
Is the film brilliant? Yes. By leaps and bounds. Is it my kind of film? No. Is it aamir’s film? may be. but more so it’s a labour of love and compassion for children which i know Aamir has but so does Amol Gupte? Amol Gupte was my first teacher, I was doing theatre in 1993 and had literally no money and Amol use to come watch the plays, He is a brilliant painter, the most original that i have seen, an actor(anyone rememeber Guru Dakshina with Anupam kher,Amol was the other lead) , he was a regular in all FTII films, he was kind of a poor man’s Amol palekar and more. Amol took me under his wing to assist him on a tele series called Tejas which was produced by Saeed Mirza. I was 21. I wrote the dialogues for the first episode and when Amol read it , he said you are a writer, you do not need to assist and he took me to Saeed and said I am not writing the series anymore and here is your writer. Just like that. I was writing,and i was a writer. I owe Amol my early start. From his little room in Alvarez house, influences from where you see galore in TZP, was a hub for artists. Vilkas sivaraman had a studio apartment, probably still has, probably amol is still there . Haven’t met him in a long time. Alvarez House had this one floor where they made aquariums and amol spent a lot of time with the fishes. Probably that aquarium is still there. I really don’t clearly remember whether it was called Alvarez house but it’s so easy to find. It is in Mahim right after the that corner which is becomes one way after four to suburbs and one way before thea to worli . Two buildings after the Park which is after the hospitel. I remember him doodling with his black pen on white ceramics, making shapes and paint visuals with small little circles..those black little circles would continue as he talked to me. He never seemed like he wanted much from life. The whole circle of friends was like that.Amol was more Mansoor Khan’s friend than AAmir’s. He and mansoor started an Ad Film house together, while Mansoor played Drums, amol did everything. In the circle was also noe deceased Mahendra Joshi, the theatre director who would throw chappals at me if i got my lines wron while we were rehearsing “Paankaur naake Jaake” by madhu rai. Mahendra Joshi was also the man who discovered Paresh Rawal, who resurrected Shafi Inaamdar, turned an under sixteen india wicketkeeper into a fine actor and a brilliant and most prolific playwrite ,theatre director Makarand deshpande. I was just a mute witness to these great minds who somewhere were also partly responsible to shape me.
Why am i going into history? Maybe because I see a lot coming from those years in this film, as if TZP has been in making for fourteen years or may be more. I am a great admireee of Aamir Khan and not because i share his initials,but his courage. He is a good hard working, persistent,sometimes to the point of irritating , stubborn, why because when he believes he really believes. My one big grouse with him is why did he take over Amol’s film, but what happens between two people only the two know and i am not going to judge anyone here. He is creative yet sometimes he restricts the freeflow of thoughts because he needs to know before hand. He wants perfection in everything from his daily toast to his films. That kind of a man is not easy to be with, but that kind of man or even a worse eccentric was Kubrick. I am not comparing his filmmaking skills to kubrick, because TZP is not that. Tzp is a brilliant honest film about a dyslexic boy and the world he is at odds with that needs to understand him. AK plays Nikumbh the unconventional art teacher who makes that possible. Not once anyone talked during the film , the story takes it’s own beautiful time to unfold, Darsheel the boy is a discovery, he tugs at your heart with silent stares. No this is not my kind of film, neither is it the kind of film that i make or even love. It has too many tears for my own taste, but it just refuses to leave me. Deepa Bhatia, the researcher, the editor, the wife of Amol Gupte puts it together beautifully and offcourse Aamir would have been there with her and so would amol and they would have fought and argued and everything but what came out is a labour of love. The most disarming momemt in the fil was when the credits began and you see the little Darsheel Safary giventop billing followed by Aamir khan. from then on he just takes you in and you want to see the boy and you don’t wait for Aamir the star to make an entry. this is something all thos need to learn who sell faces on a poster to the people.
This film took me back to my school, it was as if i was watching my own childhood unfolding in front of me, except i was not dyslexic. It took me back to the time when my teachers refused to publish my short story and poem in school because he said it was too dark and not genuine to come from the mind of an eight year old. What was my story about. A boy planning a revenge against a bully in a boarding school , under the tamarind tree. The boy practised everyday throwing a stone that would miss a point he marked on the tree. everyday people saw him hitting the mark and cheer him and one day he deliberately misses it so the stone would hit the bully walking out of his class. It was rejected.
This film took me there , merits are too many to talk about, what i love the most is the way the camera lingers on to the moments and the boy and is not in a hurry to move away.. what i love the most is the writing. It is the most original and rooted piece of writing to have come out of here. I will not like to talk about the little plot points and the story and would like all to see it. It’s really strange also for me to write about TZP and not about Hanuman Returns which is releasing next week. But what the heck, a good film is a good film is a good film. And my heroes of the film are aamir for always putting his money where his mouth is, Ajay and Sanjeev bijli for supporting it, what a start for PVR Pictures, All those wonderful actors, especially Tisca Chopra(once a beauty queen, and a wet shirt heroine and now an extremely evolved and fine actress), The star Darsheel Safary my candidate for best actor of the year over anyone and this time even SRK wouldn’t mind losing to him. For once we can have the youngest best actor after shweta won the award for Iqbal. But my real hero of the film remains Amol Gupte for what he came up with on paper. here is raising a toast to him.
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