When I saw the trailer of the film Secret Superstar, my first impression was that this could be the music version of Nagesh Kukunoor’s cricket oriented inspiring tale Iqbal. Even though the premise seemed slightly similar, the film here is aiming something beyond the usual chase your dreams thought. Addressing the issue of male dominancy and domestic violence, Secret Superstar from Advait Chandan is a film that has got its heart at the right place.
Insia Malik is this Muslim girl from Baroda who lives in a very orthodox family. Her father is a really rude man who harasses her mother for even the smallest of mistakes. Insia has this passion for music and her best friend, her mother one day gifts a laptop to her. The excitement to let the world know about her talent makes Insia utilize the world of internet for her advantage. She chooses the name Secret Superstar for her social media handles and the film shows us her growth and the outcomes of that growth.
The first half of the movie gave me an impression that it is going in the Iqbal track. With realism in depiction it looked good even after being similar. Stubborn dad, supporting mother and sibling, secret journeys to fulfill the dreams etc. are something we have seen in the Nagesh Kukunoor film. It is actually the second half of Secret Superstar that makes a difference. The moment Nachdi Phira song starts, this film becomes something else. It has fun, emotion and powerful statements after that. I had tears in my eyes for some of the scenes in that portion and the climax was really heart touching or I should say motivating. With cheesiness getting reduced and engaging drama happening on screen powered by some fabulous performances, this film wins our heart.
Zaira Wasim who had only a small part in Dangal steals the show here with her fabulous portrayal of Insia. There is an argument scene in the film between Insia and her mother and the earnestness in Zaira’s performance is truly brilliant. In the singing part also this girl has nailed the body language and expressions. Another commendable super performance was from Meher Vij who became that friendly mummy and her performance play a key role in making that climax such a hearty one. Then we have Mr. Aamir Khan who plays the hilarious and occasionally disgusting Shakti Kumar very effectively. The cute Kabir Sajid was a good addition to the quality cast along with Tirth Sharma as Chintan and Raj Arjun as the rude father.
Advait Chintan places his film in that semi dramatic zone where you get the drama in the most sensible level. Like I already said, it’s in the second half he takes out all his efforts to address the main issue. The brutality is so effectively depicted that you would root for the mother and daughter when they take those life changing decisions. There are subtle things in the visuals and scenes; the colony where Insia lives is named Modern and the first scene after showing the name of the colony features the rant of an orthodox man. Advait manages to include good humor in the narrative without making it desperately comic. Amit Trivedi’s music and Kausar Munir’s simple yet cheerful lyrics adds much to the film and a special mention to Meghna Mishra who has given voice to the singing part of Insia – while watching the film, Nachdi Phira was really a surprise treat.
Secret Superstar isn’t a preachy cinema that blatantly asks you to chase your dreams. That agenda is in the subtext of the film and the movie directly asks women to fight for their rights and equality and never to compromise. Secret Superstar moved me a lot – Recommended.
Secret Superstar directly asks women to fight for their rights and equality and never to compromise.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended