Director: Advait Chandan
Cast: Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Raj Arjun, Tirth Sharma, Kabir Sheikh, Farrukh Jaffer and Aamir Khan
After giving a supreme performance in Dangal, Zaira Wasim absolutely deserved a solo film to display the immense acting talent she possesses and with Secret Superstar, she proved that elemental strength. A story of a 14 year old girl and her singing aspirations make this movie worth exploring for its simplicity and innocent courage.
The story of Secret Superstar is very relatable today as we all know what bigger world YouTube opens for artists to showcase their skills and give the world something new every moment. Taking that subject into account, writer-director Advait Chandan tells us the story of Insia (Zaira Wasim), her family and how she faces lots and lots of struggles yet never gives up on her singing dreams. Chandan executed the film graciously. He didn’t try to make it into something that is excessive but he understood the scope of the story and gave it a very genuine treatment to give us a straight forward inspirational film with a feel good experience.
Insia’s ambitions, her sweet mother’s admirable love for her, Insia’s school life, the hardships of Insia’s mom Najma (Meher Vij) as she is a constant victim of marital violence from her husband and then, the angle of Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan) who adds a surprising turn in Insia’s life are penned down thoughtfully which feel like a natural continuation and that’s why you become interested in the narrative. The scenes of Farookh (Raj Arjun) hitting Najma are truly horrifying and Advait Chandan does a fine job to show how even today, women in India suffer from the hands of their husbands but never complain. Insia’s adventures and enterprising attitude to create YouTube videos are the highlight points of the movie. The songs are purely charming and they give a sense of pleasantness when Insia is shown singing them on YouTube.
I loved Chandan’s efforts to give vitality to Insia’s mom as this film tells the story of not just an aspiring singer but the support system that enables her to fly and achieve her dreams. However, I still think Chandan should have also written more on Insia’s singing journey while she is on YouTube as that angle gets diluted after a while and somehow Nazma’s problems become more dominant in Secret Superstar.
The film never goes dull as there are ample thrilling moments with Farookh hurting the family and Insia’s dreams. One of the best scenes of Secret Superstar is the actual studio singing of Insia. That scene tells how sometimes in an effort to give audience what they want, artists forget the true intention of their work. It’s been dealt cleverly. It’s also the reality that is happening in our industry today.
Image Source: Zee Studios
The character of Aamir Khan as Shakti Kumar was good and he is the push that Insia needed so his introduction in the story is written nicely. He is also the comedy element that the movie needed. The final phase of Secret Superstar is good although it felt a bit over the top. The pure intention of the movie is preserved throughout and this is how inspiring stories should be told.
National Award winning actress Zaira Wasim is confident as Insia and her dialogue delivery is top notch. There is no fear in her character portrayal and delivering such performance is no easy task. Her love for her mother and their fights, her singing adventures make this movie a real winner. We all love inspiring stories and Zaira gives us many reasons to watch Secret Superstar. I look forward to watching this talented girl more and more in future movies where she will constantly give complete justice like she did in Secret Superstar and Dangal.
Meher Vij as Najma Malik is a mother we all have and we all admire for her sacrifices for her children and unconditional love. What a charming personality she has and you will love the way she and Insia portray the mother-daugther relationship on screen. Meher’s sufferings as her husband hits her for small small mistakes but her efforts to give Insia the best life she can give, have been enacted brilliantly. I think Zaira Wasim and Meher Vij are both equal contributors to the effectiveness of Secret Superstar.
The terror that Raj Arjun creates as Insia’s father is the one to watch out in the movie. He is the one person you will hate in Secret Superstar and that tells you a lot about his fine acting. Tirth Sharma does a fair job as Insia’s friend. He is innocent and best friend we all have to help us in our daily struggling lives and he makes it very real.
Aamir Khan does what he did in Taare Zameen Par. He comes for a small and crucial run time and instils a right balance of fun, cunningness and reality through his strange character Shakti Kumar. The ever irritating talks of his which always begin with ‘Babes’, his clothes and the manner in which he speaks with people make him utterly hateable. Aamir’s conversations with Insia are mind blowing and he also gives us a taste of what goes on in Bollywood music industry sometimes and showbiz is not always what it seems.
Secret Superstar is a good movie with a fair story of a girl Insia, her singing ambitions and her enterprising ways to achieve those. The narrative of Insia and her mother is relatable. Advait Chandan keeps it simple and that’s why the film works. Zaira Wasim has to be applauded for her confident performance.