We received a text message wishing us haqpi nu yaer. Just how the dyslexic Ishaan would have written before Nikumbh Sir came into his life. Thats the TZP effect.
It makes you feel like hugging your kid, spending time with him. It makes you trade his text books for his scrap books. It makes you ask him to dream. Taare Zameen Par makes you do a lot of things which other films dont. It makes you feel like being the best human being you can possibly be. And thats the magic of an issue film which works without being preachy.
There are those who would argue that without Aamir Khan the actor no one would have given TZP a second look but then again he isnt even around till the interval. And whats wrong with a star stepping out and supporting a cause through a film, especially in a Bollywood-crazy country like ours, where you need a Lagaan to be patriotic, a Rang De Basanti to act, a Taare Zameen Par to feel?
Way to go, Aamir!
On the face of it, Baghban looked very cliched. Children growing up to show their ageing parents the door. But we hadnt seen Amitabh play the handsome father or Hema the gorgeous mother. Amitabh and Hema, coming back after decades, were the best ever oldie pair in Bollywood and made this average Ravi Chopra film look classy. By the end of it, after a Booker prize or two, Baghban had done its job — make you realise (far better than KJo) that its all about loving your parents and scripted a brand-new chapter in geriatric love. Main yahaan tu wahaan will go down as an anthem of love at 60.
There have been many films on schizophrenia but what made Ron Howards A Beautiful Mind special was the fact that it was about the extraordinary life and times of John Nash. The mathematician who realises he is sick (the little girl he used to imagine never grows up) but goes on to win the Nobel Prize. Russell Crowe, playing the anguished Nash, gives us a peek into the beautiful mind of a genius. Its Best Film Oscar proved that the effect of a cause movie can be both power and glory.
Forrest Gump made you truly believe that life can turn out to be a box of chocolates where you never know what you gonna get. The issue with Forrest was he just had an IQ of 75 and yet led the most eventful of lifes one can ever imagine. From being the table tennis champ to representing the army to being a shrimp tycoon, there was no one quite like Forrest. And yet he never bothered about the historical significance of his adventures.
It was a road trip he never wanted to take but by the end of it Charlie Babitt had discovered his brother. And everyone loved Rain Man Raymond. Dustin Hoffman, along with director Barry Levinson, showed autism in a whole new light. You can still be very special and turn around lives of people who may seem perfectly fine from the outside but are actually hollow inside.
Awakenings handled everything from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder, from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression — all under one common problem called catatonia. Entering their world and taking the audiences with him, Robin Williamss Malcolm Sayer endears people who may exist like vegetables but live in a whole wide world of their own. The film also features a sparkling performance from Robert De Niro as Leonard Lowe who goes into sleep as a teen and wakes up as an adult struggling to come to terms with the world outside.
... and the ones which didnt get it right
Melodrama is not the best way to tell a sensitive story but the Bhatts know little else. Thats why Tamanna (about a eunuch), which could have been a heartwrenching tale, turned out to be yet another assembly-line product screaming to make its point. Deaf ears is all it got.
Ironically it was Aparna Sens earlier film Paromitar Ek Din that said so much more about special children with so little. Despite great performances, 15 Park Avenue remained a soulless film about schizophrenia. It tried to teach rather than reach out
Even Raj Kapoor handled the theme of widow remarriage better in Prem Rog (1982) than Ravi Chopra did in Baabul (2006). When you try too hard to talk progressive, you invariably end up walking regressive. Get a chill pill, we say.
There are many other films which raised issues sensitively and made their point effectively. From Revathys Phir Milenge (AIDS) to Mani Ratnams Anjali (terminal autism), there have been films which may not have set the box office ablaze, but they made those who saw it pause and ponder.
Which are the cause films that touched your heart and made you think? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org