Advait Superstar

Just returned from seeing Secret Superstar starring Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij and the inimitable Aamir Khan.

A simple, straight forward tale, told with  emotional purity that leaves you spell bound. And when you do not know what to compliment more: the brilliant story about pursuing your dreams regardless; the professional acting; the unusual casting; the hum-able tunes; the heart touching lyrics you realize this a Director’s movie whole and soul. And then when you remember that this is debutante director’s first film you realize the real Secret Superstar of this Bollywood outing is none other than Advait Chandan. Way to go, Advait!!!!

When Aamir is associated with a film you obviously know this is going to be something different. And Aamir does not let you down. Here he is producing the film anchored by his personal assistant. But he also plays a major role in the movie. He enacts the quirky music director Shakti Kummarr with such ease and aplomb that you are once again left marveling at the loads of talent this person brings to the screen. He is loud, brash, obnoxious, flirty and difficult. He plays the character so well that whenever Shakti Kummarr is on : the screen is full and out-flowing with Aamir’s presence. And yet, at the same time when little Inshu (little schoolgirl with loads of talent) is on screen you can actually see the greatness of Aamir the actor when he underplays Shakti so much that Inshu can play herself well and steal the scenes!!!! The caricaturist music director and losing popularity singer is played brilliantly by Aamir, as only he can pull off.

The story is simple and straight lined: Inshu is a school girl who is a talented singer. Her mother ( played by Vij to perfection) keeps encouraging her despite facing a very difficult and abusive husband. Inshu is a typical self centered schoolgirl: one knows how to receive affection and love: but not give it back whether it is to her mother, her brother, or to her school friend Chintan. Inshu dreams big: and wants to be a singing superstar. Hidden from her abusive father she posts videos secretly and gets a huge following online. This huge popularity gets her upto the “Glamour Awards” nomination. She does not win the trophy but in losing, she wins the hearts and minds of all and reaffirms her love and connect with her mother.

Director Advait makes a big pitch of the importance of dreams in stitching our lives together and going after the dreams to set a new direction to our future. Inshu dreams about her mother getting out of the abusive relationship and a marriage scarred by domestic violence. She even finds a divorce lawyer who is willing to help. And all this is displayed with humor bubbling over once in awhile. The movie never becomes melodramatic or melancholy. While Inshu and her mother are suffering, there are enough interludes to keep your interest high.  And keep you guessing how it would turn out at the end. The last scene of Inshu’s mother (Vij) reconciling that she cannot compromise the future of he daughter  and son and her walking out on her husband while at the Airport counter to check in, is realistically handled. Again another sign of the Director’s tight script control and story telling finesse.

Even the small side characters leave a deep impression on you. Inshu’s brother Guddu trying to “repair” a broken laptop with brown tape and gum. The Dadi who is still questioning why she was born a girl and why she has been a silent spectator to all the wife beating and abusive behavior. At the end the same Dadi accepts her daughter in law’s right to walk out of the life of her abusive son. The producer of Aamir’s new film: the archetypal Producer who is only interested in bimbos and selfies. The school friend Chintan, who loves Inshu and is ready to encourage and help her do what is right for Inshu’s future: even when the cost involved is letting Inshu fly out of his life. All the side characters play their roles very realistically and you are so drawn into the narrative that you carry these people in your heart and out of the movie frame.

Since the protagonist is singer, there is great scope for music and lyrics to play an important part in driving the narrative forward. And Amit Trivedi’s music as well as Kausar Munir do not disappoint. “Mai kaun hun” is the song which appeals to us all as that  is a search of defining ourselves that we all are onto constantly. “Meri pyari Ammi” can be the anthem for the Secret Superstar movie in toto. It has remarkable lyrics. And is rendered very well. “Nachdi Phira” treads very familiar grounds and even the tune and rendition are pedestrian at best. But another song that sparkles and stands out is ” Sapne re” which sets the tone for the story what weave our lives and aspirations together. Finally we are what our dreams are and if we take the risks and efforts we can make our dreams come true is the positive message propagated by Secret Superstar.

I return again to the real superstar in the movie: Advait Chandan. He has even written the script for this film and the story would touch your heart even if it was not embellished by Aamir Khan or the superb performances of Vij as the mother and Wasim Zaira as Inshu. Advait has brought us a film which proves that the art of clean and simple story telling is still alive and kicking. And as Indians we will always root for good music and want to be reminded of a mother’s love. I will eagerly await the second film of this talented Director.

I left the movie theater feeling bad my mother is no more. Otherwise i would have surely told her once again after watching this film how much I love her.

See the movie to be reminded what a mother’s love feels like: vikas


21 Replies to “Advait Superstar”

  1. Great Expression. Though I have not watched the movie, but will definitely will. Thanks Vikas for sharing such wonderful perspective. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic movie. Zaira and Meher Vij has given hundred percent justice to the characters they played. Very well narrated by you Vikas dada. Not sure why you interpreted Insu as a self centred….I thought though she is very passionate about her dreams she is equally sensitive towards her mother and others as well.
    And yes…the last scene really left tears in my eyes. Mothers are just mothers always superstars for her kids.


    1. Prasanna
      thanks for your comments.
      they encourage me no end
      I always like when contrary views are expressed as that adds value and perspective to your thinking
      I sais self cetered as the way she treats her brother; her mother initially ( calling her darpok and stupid etc before she hears out the Dadi); her bf Chintan despite his repeated overtures: all that made me conclude so. She changes later but initially her approach is very different? Even when she is planning the divorce and meets the lawyer: she does not even care to find out what is her mother’s choice/thinking?
      anyway valid challenge. And thanks for making me think again
      keep reading and keep encouraging me my brother
      I esp want you to read the posts I have earlier put on My mother; Rashmi my teacher: and My Father
      do give your comments


  3. Hello Sir… I think this one is your third blog on Hindi Movies latest releases and I have read and reread them all … Your Narration about them is above excellence… For someone like me who isn’t into watching new releases it’s like seeing them with my eyes closed…


    1. Hey Nikhil thanks for your kind words. I began blogging because friends like you to whom I used to send film reviews on WA said I must blog to reach a wider audience. I got hooked when I started. Last 3 blogs have been about movies. But I am working on something different…watch this space for more!!!!


  4. So wonderfully written sir ! Your characteristic style of writing makes me so excited and curious about watching movies. I am definitely going to watch the movie. And i am gonna ask my mom to accompany me and will definitely tell her about your blog on Secret Superstar !


    1. Ashay I can promise you your movie experience will be multifold enhanced when you watch it with your mother. Enjoy my young friend. And cherish these moments which you share with your mother. We ALL owe much more to our mothers than just a living!!!!


  5. Superb film, we too watched it and feel like watching it again and again. You have written so well that one flows as one reads.


  6. Wonderful review. You have reinforced what other media have ascribed. Truly a must watch in my list! Thanks Vikas.


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