The World Wide Web may be lampooned for the negative impact on youngsters but here is a moving portrayal of how the Internet acts as a liberating force and helps a talented teenage girl break shackles
By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi
“Dream dekhna toh basic hota hai” – this line perfectly captures the essence of what the movie is all about. The story of Insia Malik (Zaira Wasim), a teenager with dreams of becoming a singer, is poignantly narrated. How she is faced with restriction from her conservative and abusive father, and how the youngster rebels against orthodox beliefs to come out a winner, forms the crux of the film.
The narration is simple yet effective. The movie opens with the young girl getting a new laptop as a gift from her mother. Insia initially uses it to learn recipes, connect with friends and watch videos with her mother and brother. Later, she gets inspired by the song Why This Kolaveri Di? which has over 130,000,000 views online. This motivates her to make her own YouTube videos and present her talent to the world. Since her controlling father is opposed to her musical ambitions, she is not allowed to show her face or reveal her identity to the world. So, she decides to wear a burqa while filming the videos and aptly names her new YouTube channel ‘Secret Superstar’.
And thus, she writes and sings her very first song, Main Kaun Hoon. This song gets a viral response with 11,000 views on the first day, which looks a little too simplistic. As a YouTuber myself (http://bit.ly/2yyniGw), my most viewed video has 3.5k views on my channel called Fun-o-matic, and that too nine months after uploading it.
One thing that bothers me about this film is that things happen way too smoothly for the protagonist. For instance, it isn’t easy to get numerous views and subscribers in a short span of time. It doesn’t look believable that one can get the contact number of a big musician/star and get them to record a song with you.
Otherwise, the scenes in the film are realistic and connect with the audience. One of the highlights of the film is the puppy love between Insia and Chintan. Many ‘aww’ moments in the movie come from Kabir Sajid’s (Insia’s little brother) adorable acting. His attempts at helping his sister and trying to make life easier for her strikes a chord. The bonding between the mother and daughter is also well-portrayed. A girl from an orthodox family trying to rid her mother of an abusive relationship takes a huge step towards progression. As Insia’s popularity soars and she gets the confidence to oppose conservative practices, you feel yourself identifying with her and her rebellion.
This is also because of the nuanced performances by the cast. Zaira Wasim (Insia) and Meher Vij (as the mother) have done a great job. Raj Arjun, as the abusive husband and father, is convincing. Aamir Khan has a short and sweet role and plays his part well as Insia’s mentor. It’s fun to watch him play an eccentric character with attitude.
The soundtrack of this movie is soulful and tugs at your heart. My favourite song in the film is Main Kaun Hoon. Amit Trivedi and Kausar Munir have done a great job, while credit also goes to Meghna Mishra for her melodious singing. The songs seem perfect to lift your spirit on a dull day. The lyrics are worth taking a printout and putting up on your bedroom wall.
The climax is heart-warming and makes a strong statement. The film reiterates the Internet’s power to liberate. It is extremely empowering as it tells us to speak up for what we believe in and pursue our passion against all obstacles. It also teaches determination and persistence.
1. Stay determined – Your dream can come true only if you get up after every obstacle.
2. Speak up – Speaking up and fighting for your rights always helps, be it a stranger occupying your seat or helping your mother get out of an unhealthy relationship.
3. Team up with the right people – Collaborate with people who can lift your spirits and help you out when you actually need it.
4. Push your boundaries – When the opportunity comes, don’t be afraid to embrace it and work hard to achieve success.
5. If something makes you uncomfortable, opt out – If singing adult lyrics is not your thing, you don’t have to do it. Similarly, if your father wants to take you to Saudi to get you married to a total stranger, refuse.
Secret Superstar is an overall inspiring and motivating film for young people. I really enjoyed watching it.
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Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi