Not much else to write about today, and I felt like I couldn’t just let it go with the Shahrukh birthday post and Happy Diwali, so let’s throw in a last minute post on the Secret Superstar theme!
Khamoshi is my favorite Bhansali film. I feel like it is the purest expression of his emotions, all the artifice and excess stripped away. The simple setting lets the characters and story and actors truly shine.
It’s also a simple story. No extra endings or conflicts, pretty straight-forward. A daughter is born to two deaf parents. Her hearing grandmother teaches her to love music. But after her grandmother dies, and her beloved little brother, her parents become more and more untrusting and unwilling to go out into the world. Manisha Koirala, their now grown daughter, still loves music, and sneaks off to the music store to play the piano and write her songs and sing.
Which is where Salman Khan, visiting professional singer/musician, hears her. And they fall in love immediately. In the most believable way of all the Bhansali films I have seen. Because they are just simple young happy people and that is how simple young happy people fall in love. All at once, joyfully, jumping in with both feet.
Their love story is all mixed up with music. They sing to each other, he encourages her, lets her feel free and happy and talented and appreciated, and he falls in love with her talent and how it is held within such a simple innocent person. And when he has to leave, although he promises to be back, it is heartbreaking not just because she is losing the man she loves, but because she is losing the music. And he is heartbroken not just because he is leaving her, but because he is leaving behind her music. And so we can forgive them for leaving control and spending one last night together.
In a different film, Manisha’s out of wedlock pregnancy, her parents’ anger over it, that would be the plot. Heck, that IS the plot of plenty of movies, from Julie to Kya Kehna! But in this film, even that comes second to the music. Religion come second to it too, Salman is Hindu and Manisha is Christian, but that is meaningless in the face of the music they share. The culmination isn’t when Salman returns and marries Manisha, or when her parents reconcile to their marriage and child. The culmination is when the come to the studio to see her sing, finally accepting this part of her life.
Which brings me to Secret Superstar!!!! I don’t think this director will have the brilliant touch that Bhansali had, which managed to make the music the magic not the love story, so I really hope that instead there is no love story at all. The casting and trailers seem to be pointing that way.
While in Khamoshi, Salman was the one who discovered and encouraged and woke up Manisha to her potential, in this it will be Aamir (it looks like). Who is not only much much older than our heroine, he has been styled to be completely unattractive, comical more than anything else. While our heroine is playing her age, a schoolgirl who isn’t ready for any kind of romance.
And so I am looking forward to a relationship off a bit of an odd couple, the gentle little schoolgirl and the ridiculous comical famous music producer, who are brought together through a shared love of music, not anything else.
The other part that reminds me of Khamoshi is the family. In Khamoshi, there was a delicate power struggle between hearing Manisha and her deaf parents. In this, it looks like the power struggle will be a bit less delicate, her mother is loving and supportive of her dreams, even if she doesn’t fully understand them like Aamir does, and her father is just terrible for no reason. Not necessarily unbelievably terrible, I haven’t seen the movie yet after all, but so far there doesn’t appear to be any real reason that he is against music besides just not wanting his daughter to follow her dreams.
But mostly I am looking forward to another film in which a young woman’s musical dreams are treated seriously, are allowed to blossom, and in fact are the entire point of the film.