It is only natural to have high expectations when you step out to watch an Aamir Khan film. No, Secret Superstar is not a feature where the superstar plays the titular role. In fact, just like Dangal, he takes a back seat to bring us a story of a Muslim girl who wants to become a singer but is barred from taking the very first step, in her own home, by her own father. Aamir Khan, who has produced the film along with wife Kiran Rao, only has a guest appearance which has been  much talked about ever since the promos released. Does Secret Superstar turn up to be yet another content driven work of brilliance, like Khan’s past films or is it an affair you can miss. Read my review here…

What’s It About

A Muslim girl from Baroda, Insia (Zaira Wasim) aspires to become a singer. But she comes from a home where there are restrictions on not just her actions, but also her thoughts and dreams. While she is eager to open her cage and fly in the skies of her dreams, she also wants to free her mother from the domestic abuse she is subjected to. Becoming a famous singer is her way to find freedom for both of them. Insia takes a step closer to her dream and starts uploading videos of her singing clad in a burqa. She becomes an internet sensation and thus a Secret Superstar is born. But of what use is all that popularity when you cannot bask in its glory? At this juncture, music director Shakti Kumarr (Aamir Khan) comes into her life as a ray of hope. Will Insia ever be able to find her freedom? Will she ever become the superstar she aspires to be?

What’s Hot

The story, the characters, the performances, the narrative, the music… Secret Superstar brings together all the secret ingredients, in just the right amount, to create the perfect experience. What wins for the film is its simple story, that will strike a chord with most of us. It is the story of the millennial generation which has the will and wings to fly but often finds the wind beneath it missing. The film is an interesting take on dreams, aspirations, hope, patriarchy and parenting, told by some very interesting characters. While Insia (Zaira Wasim) will make your heart wrench by her emotional turmoil, her mother’s (Meher Vij) helplessness to help her child realise her dream or to better her own domestic situation will leave a lump in your throat. The beautiful mother-daughter bond will warm your heart and nudge an urgent want to give her a tight hug right away. (ALSO READ: Secret Superstar Quick Movie Review: Aamir Khan, Zaira Wasim’s Outstanding Tale Of Love, Joy And Hope Is Unmissable)

Insia’s father (Raj Arjun) takes the ‘haanikarak bapu’ to another level that makes you loathe him and his kind. Shakti Kumarr (Aamir Khan) as the OTT, narcissist, sleazy music director may seem caricaturish but he will grow on you and provide the much needed light moments in the film. Despite taking a back seat and letting Insia shine, Aamir steals the show each time he comes onscreen. It is difficult to love him, but tougher to hate him. And it is impossible to imagine anyone else doing the role except him. However, Zaira Wasim as Insia is the star of the film and gives an impressive earnest performance. Advait Chandan delivers a masterstroke in his directorial debut. His gripping storytelling will leave you looking forward to more from him in the future.The music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Kausar Munir make the soundtrack soulful. Sapne Mere’s hummable tune and relatable lyrics will stay with you much after the film.

What’s Not

The father is the villain of the story here and his character goes a little overboard establishing how strict, regressive and dominating he is. For those of us who have had more supportive fathers, this character might seem a little unbelievable and some of his nuances obnoxious.

What to do

If you do step out of the house during this 4-day long Diwali weekend to watch a film, let it be this one. And do take your mother along.

Verdict

India.com rating: 4 stars