As the mother of a six-year-old, I had looked forward to TZP (I think this abbreviation only works if you pronounce Z as zee) with interest. Thanks to the previews, I had expected it to be an illuminating, instructive, slightly documentary-style manual on parenting in general and handling a dyslexic child in particular.
Given Aamir Khan’s involvement, I should have known better.
TZP blew me away because it was illuminating, instructive, and SO BLOODY UNEXPECTEDLY MOVING. No film has the right to make you cry as much as that.
Yes, the ending is feel good, and some parts in the middle a little longer than necessary, and the flip book theme is overdone, but what the heck. When was the last time you were glued to the seat by the story of a child with a learning disability, and when was the last time you almost failed to notice that one of the protagonists did not make an appearance until the second half?
TZP works for me because it works with some of life’s everyday, mundane problems. Because dyslexia or not, many of us can identify with almost-forgotten classroom situations in which we were slower to grasp a lesson than our classmates, and faced the prospect of public ridicule and humiliation.
It shows that a mainstream Bollywood film need not escape into a fairytale world in order to succeed at the box office, and you do not require a battery of stars to buy audience appreciation, provided you have an Aamir Khan on your side.
That said, it is also an extremely clever piece of film-making, because it deliberately uses the art of pathos to calculated and maximum effect, but that takes nothing away from the painstaking research that has obviously gone into its making, or the care with which the narrative has been crafted.