Debutant filmmaker Advait Chandan’s self-assured debut manages to reach out and connect to audiences in more ways than one. The storytelling of the movie is a bit long and drawn out, no doubt, but by keeping it straight and simple the film shows how the Bollywood formula can be harnessed to rustle up a real winner. Little Zaira Wasim packs a punch with her performance that has the audience rooting for her all throughout.
The supporting cast of relatively unknown actors such as character actor Raj Arjun who plays Insia’s dad Farookh Malik, a despotic figure, as well as Meher Vij who plays her mother have done a commendable job. Farookh’s (Raj) domestic altercations and abuse seem very real and relatable as does Najma’s (Meher) helplessness towards her family’s situation.
The mother-daughter duo of Insia and Najma are very much in sync all throughout the movie. While Najma lives vicariously through her daughters dreams, Insia plans an escape for her mother from the claustrophobia of an abusive marriage. The camaraderie between the two is simply heartfelt.
Superstar Aamir Khan’s small but pivotal role of Insia’s unlikely mentor works well and his character’s emotional redemption towards the end is also endearing. His deliberate portrayal of a loud-mouth-once-famous music director is quite spot on.
Secret Superstar released alongside big banner film Golmaal Again and despite the risk, the movie has done well so far. Aamir Khan is determined to take Secret Superstar to China as well and says he has already started planning the release. China has emerged as an important market for him after the massive success of his previous film Dangal, which was released across 9,000 screens with English subtitles in China. Secret Superstar is currently playing in theatres.