Aamir Khan Should Be ‘Whiplash’ed For Secret Superstar

He sweats. He bleeds. He bleeds. He sweats. And the constant pendulum in sweat and blood keeps him going. It was never easy but so is the path to success. But the only thing that keeps him going, is the anger for his coach. For which, shedding blood and tears mattered least to him.

This is the beautifully brutal, final scene from the J. K. Simmons’ starrer and highly acclaimed, Whiplash in 2014, where Simmons who portrays ‘Mr. Fletcher’, as the coach of Andrew (Miles Teller). After abusing him psychologically, physically and mentally, Fletcher had planned out to insult Andrew in the final stages of the film but the plan backfired. Andrew in turn then leads Fletcher’s band into an incredible rendition of the song which leaves the audience stunned and numb.

The greatest enemy to aspire greatness is your coach. Your coach is not the one to hold your hand, kiss your forehead, sugar-coat you wherever not required.  Your coach will make you question your existence, forget whether they even think you’re talented or not. And that’s where Secret Superstar fails miserably.

Just like in Taare Zameen Par, Aamir Khan is yet again the mentor of a creatively skilled child who’s lost in his own battles. While Darsheel Safary has to overcome dyslexia and Aamir, his teacher who’s also a fellow dyslexic, makes him overcome the fear and puts him on a path to greatness, just like he’s done with Insya (Zaira Wasim) in Secret Superstar. While Taare Zameen Par was executed perfectly, somewhere, the plot of Secret Superstar started going from inspirational to mundane.

A schoolgirl who has not even been outside of her colony forgets her city, Baroda randomly flies to Mumbai to meet a completely unknown music director, Shakti (Aamir), for a shot at a Bollywood song. For a girl, who has only recorded songs on her laptop, is now standing in the middle of a sound-proof studio, auditioning for a crappy song with absolutely no knowledge of the microphone and audio settings.

But as usual, with some predictable twists and turns, a 10-year old kid makes an experienced music director understand that the song is a remixed version and sings the rendition that was thrashed years ago. Yet again, mundane.

How can a schoolgirl possibly teach an experienced music director what works and what does not? To propagate the goodness of his protagonist, Aamir Khan once again sabotages the veteran counterpart, just like in Dangal, where he put away all modern methods of wrestling to the dustbin and in Taare Zameen Par, where he showcased Darsheel Safary’s parents in a negative light.

What Aamir Khan needs to do before donning the coach cum mentor role yet again is to watch Whiplash. Modern coaches and mentor do not rely on raw talent to take their prodigies to the next level. They don’t indulge in mollycoddling their prodigies to take them to a next level. They make you bleed. They make you cry. They make you sweat. They make you hate you. They make you, the coach, their biggest enemy.

In this case, Aamir is only giving wrong examples for so many Insyas, who want to become a singer, maybe actors, athletes etc. Maybe Insya could have taken inspiration from Zaira who played her on screen. Zaira would not teach Aamir how to act, she rather, in an interview to Rajeev Masand, said that she cannot become Aamir Khan because his method is totally different, not that it is wrong. Zaira’s journey is based on just pure hard work, she herself said that she is not the talented actor because actors pretend on screen and she cannot. 

She learned guitar for this role, saw the actual singer sing in front of her in order to get the nuances of singing. There were many teachers cum trainers who made that happen for her. Same was the case when she was preparing for Dangal. However, the Insya does not reflect on the real-life struggles.  

As far as Aamir is concerned, there is a strong reflection of his hypocrisy in those three films, where he played a teacher or a coach.  While Aamir portrayed the role of the modern mentor in Taare Zameen Par where he literally turned out to be the decision-maker for Darsheel, in Dangal he snatches that power away from the technically adept coach of Geeta Phogat. Hypocrisy flashed from one movie to another in no time just to suit Aamir Khan’s vision.

A Virat Kohli would never have succeeded if he’d stuck to his old coach and gorged on biryanis and butter chicken. A Novak Djokovic would have never attained greatness if he hadn’t atoned to a modern, gluten-free diet.  

The path to winning an award for the best playback(female) would never be this easy in real life. Zaira Wasim’s inspirational character could have been just more than quenching the ego of Aamir Khan’s protagonist.

Written By: Tarun Raman

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