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Old October 19th, 2017, 12:24 PM
ashdoc ashdoc is offline
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Ashdoc's movie review---Secret superstar

Young Insia ( played by Zaira Wasim ) is a muslim girl growing up in Baroda ( Vadodara ) in the Indian state of Gujarat , and is the apple of the eye of her mother Najma ( played by Meher Vij ) . Mother is a liberal at heart and supports her daughter's love for singing with guitar , and even buys her a laptop by selling off her necklace so that she can upload the songs she sings on youtube .

But the life of both mother and daughter is clouded by the presence of the head of the family---Insia's father , who is not only stern but is violent and beats her mother if she dares disobey him . Though at first he seems to be supportive of Insia's education to the extent of tearing apart the strings of her guitar because she does not get enough marks in school , he turns more and more backward as the film progresses . So the songs that Insia uploads on youtube have to be with her face covered by a burkha ( hijab like garment ) because she does not want her identity to be known ; if her father came to know of it he would go once again on a rampage of violence .

Insia frankly wants her mother to divorce her father , but mother rejects this idea for the simple reason that she has nowhere to go and has no money of her own . Meanwhile Insia's voice is so melodious that she becomes a youtube sensation who sings behind the veil---the so called secret superstar . And she has a not so secret admirer in school , a boy named Chintan ( Tirth Sharma ) who loves her and whom she soon begins to love back .

Enter Shakti Kumarr ( played by Amir Khan ) , a quirky crazy music director with a taste for zany songs that match his personality....he wants secret superstar to sing for his songs . And Chintan helps Insia meet Shakti , who is so impressed that he allows the recording to be done in the melodious style Insia wants rather than his style .

But life has taken a different turn for Insia ; her father wants her to marry in Saudi Arabia to some bearded guy at age 15 itself , for he is shifting to that place for a new job . And in his house his word is law ; Insia's mother has no say and does not dare to oppose him for fear of provoking his terrible rage . All her liberal dreams for her daughter come crashing down as her daughter seems to be headed for a veiled existence in a fundamentalist land . Her laptop is smashed to pieces which her younger brother tries to stitch back in a pathetic display of more singing and no more superstardom....

But out there in Mumbai ( Bombay ) a world is waiting....a world that eagerly awaits to unveil the identity of secret superstar....where many people from Mumbai's film industry want her sing for their films....where secret superstar is nominee for best singer at an awards function....

So will Insia dare to break the veil of tradition to go on the path she chooses by revolting against her father ? Will her mother muster up the courage to go against centuries of tradition to tell her husband on his face that she does not want to go to Saudi Arabia and that she wants to divorce him ? The answer to this is predictable . But the manner in which this happens is emotionally rewarding to see . The maker of the film ( Amir Khan who else ) is a master of striking an emotional connection with the audience .

Amir Khan himself plays a comedy role with dialogues that suit his role . He has a quirky beard and a strange sense of clothing . But he does deliver the laughs . Acting by everyone is good . Meher Vij excels as the liberal mother who is trapped in tradition but is no nice that she allows her daughter one outing with her boyfriend before embarking for Saudi Arabia even at such a tender age because she thinks that it might be their last time together . Zaira Wasim looks pretty and acts well as Insia . Insia's father Farookh is played by Raj Arjun , who instills terror without appearing unduly abnormal .

Music is the strong point of the film , and the songs are very good if you like them to be melodious ; that's the way I like them at least . Colours and photography is decent enough . Critics could find many flaws in the film , especially about the lack of reason why Shakti Kumarr agrees to help Insia and about how could an obscure singer become an internet sensation in a month without powerful backing . But ordinary folks will like it , and always it is the common man's backing which helps a film get popularity . I see a winner at the box office .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .
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