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'Secret Superstar': Movie Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews 


Aamir Khan and Zahira Wasim in Secret Superstar


Secret Superstar is a family drama Film written and directed by Advait Chandan who started his career as an assistant for renowned ad film director Prahlad Kakkar. Produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, Secret Superstar stars Zaira Khan in the lead role of a school girl named Insiya, belonging to a conservative Muslim family based out of Vadodara, Gujarat, who aspires to be a singer. The film costars Meher Vij, Raj Arjun, Kabir Sajid, and Aamir Khan. Insiya, who is studying in Class X, has a rare gift for singing, but her cruel father, who regularly assaults his wife, strongly disapproves of it. Seeing Insiya’s passion for music, her mother advises her to start off a YouTube channel but with the condition that she should record all her songs while hiding behind a burkha. Soon she becomes a national sensation and even gets an offer from a leading music director in Bollywood. What ensures is a tale of self-belief, courage and determination as both Insiya and her mother try to come to terms with the gravity of the situation.

Secret Superstar addresses issues of patriarchy and domestic manner with as much care and thought that sensitive subjects like these deserve. The film never seems to be in a hurry to draw conclusions, and, without trying to be preachy, it takes a strong stand against gender discrimination, female foeticide, and violence against women at large. The film also talks about the importance of dreams in life. How without dreams a person’s life can quickly lose its significance. Insiya’s mother is subjected to years of torture and humiliation by her sadistic husband but she never complains. In the process she gets so used to it that she loses all hope of ever breaking free. It is through Insiya’s dreams that she finally begins to find a purpose in life.
Zahira Wasim and Kabir Sajid in Secret Superstar, playing with soap bubbles
A still from Secret Superstar

The film reminds us how internet has changed the world we live in. Today it’s possible for anyone to upload his/her video on YouTube. All that’s required is a laptop or a computer. This democratization has opened new horizons for young talent to express them in front of the whole world which wasn’t possible for those belonging to the earlier generations. Secret Superstar is a reminder that people can abuse / dominate us for only as long as we allow them to do so. The moment we decide to break free of the shackles, no force in this world can stop us from following our dreams to the fullest.
Aamir Khan as Music Director Shakti Kumar in Secret Superstar
Aamir Khan as Music Director Shakti Kumar in Secret Superstar

Secret Superstar takes several cinematic liberties and often the melodrama takes over but the film never really loses its grip on the audience. The occasional weak moments are compensated by Aamir Khan’s brilliance. Sometimes it amuses me how can someone constantly improve oneself for over 25 years on the trot. There is something really special about Aamir Khan that he finds a way to surprise his fans every time around. As good as Zahira Wasim and Meher Vij are in the movie, it is Aamir Khan’s portrayal of the mercurial music Director Shakti Kumar that’s the best thing about Secret Superstar. Yes, it's an inspiring journey of a daughter and a mother but it's Aamir's character that's the story's actual catalyst. Here is a film that's a must watch for anyone who has dreams but feels overwhelmed by the odds. And, rest assured, Aamir's groovy, never-seen-before avatar alone makes it worth the ticket price!

Rating: 7.5/10

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

Secret Superstar - Official Trailer

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