wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
Topics of importance and performances just about hold lack of strong story and a way-too-lengthy script together.Read more
Projects that Aamir Khan backs rarely disappoint. And yet, I am always apprehensive about them. There is a chance of him going overboard with emotion, preachiness, arrogance or all of the above. This once, he has a good reason too! His character is arrogant who is at a place where he can preach.
The topic itself has all potential to be replete with emotion – there's a stifled teenager due to her gender and her family's beliefs. Then you have a doting, struggling mother. Given the one-line plot combined with Aamir Khan's presence the movie could really go either way.
Thankfully, the story has music as a backdrop, so hopefully we can bank on a good time in the theaters on account of the songs at least.
Secret Superstar releases on 19 October, 2017. The review will be out by 21st October.
- meeta, a part of the audience
In its leap to address a range of social issues, Secret Superstar becomes lengthy and does so at a slow pace. Inevitably, the story goes all over the place. Many a time, slow films allow you to absorb the characters and situations. Here however, the pace is used to add another song, or establish an already well-established point about the characters' relationship dynamics.
Unfortunately it doesn't trust us to unveil that take-away for ourselves.
These things neither expose the characters nor the situations any further. This also makes Secret Superstar a little too repetitive. There are a couple of scenes which require the drama for the point to register. Especially one long-drawn sequence where the tension in the home is building up with the father clearly getting angrier by the second. You as an audience are holding your muscles tight because you see the mother has no way out and he is going to beat her up. But, barring a couple of such scenes, there is no real reason for situations to be repeated. Interestingly, things that ought to have taken time, such as rise of popularity on social media, happen in a jiffy (if only publicising on social media were so easy!) Similarly, the establishment of rapport between Insia (Zaira Wasim) and Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan) is all too quick. So, the pace is uneven too making the film drastically unrealistic, especially in comparison with how it begins.
This is not to say that it doesn't get you emotional or your eyes don't dampen or a lump doesn't swell in your throat. All that happens. But, that is more because of how desperate Insia and her mother's situation is. Also, even though the depiction is far away from reality the stories of domestic violence and female foeticide are as close to reality as a flossy, Diwali release can allow. I wonder if that is the makers' excuse for the airport scene as pre-climax and then the dreaded, predictable climax.
Along with these issues, the movie also comments on the reality show craze, industry awards, the change in the Hindi movie music industry and of course the relentless sacrifices that are expected out of you for being a woman and a mother. Then of course, there is the whole, 'chase your dream' spiel. These are all important issues, but that importance is subdued because of the way they were put together. Thankfully, there is no major speech. The “quotoble quote” knowledge comes, in bits and pieces, as one or two liner philosophies – nothing intolerable.
Of all these issues, female foeticide stuck with me. Not because of the overt story, but through the age gap between Insia and her little brother. I am glad the makers decided not to spell it out.
But this subtlety is reserved for just this one case. Else the movie is annoyingly melodramatic and in-the-face. For instance, Shakti Kumar's arrogance had to reek from every scene that he was in, even the ones in which he is supposedly accepting his flaw. Similarly, Insia's character is also written with the intention of making her look and sound innocent – in every single frame.
It is Zaira Wasim whose performances is so rooted, that even the most ridiculous things she is made to do, look possible. Hand-in-hand is Meher Vij as her mother. It is difficult to believe she can be anything other than a submissive woman who is beaten up by her husband (Arun Raj). That you feel like slapping Arun Raj, every time he appears on screen, says he has done his job all to well. Tirth Sharma as Insia's friend and Kabir Sheikh as her brother are age-appropriate adorable. That leaves Aamir Khan and I am so glad that Aamir Khan is left in a supporting role and makes a relatively prominent appearance only in the second half. Even so, his character felt over-written and over-done – after discounting for the fact that it was absolutely intentional. Once you kind-of settle in for the character he is portraying though, he manages to bring a smile out of you.
This is not to say that it doesn't get you emotional or your eyes don't dampen or a lump doesn't swell in your throat. All that happens. But...
That is the film's only attempt at trying to make things light. Otherwise, the film is a pretty serious take on every issue it brings up. Unfortunately, even as a movie about a singer, the music is not extraordinary. However, the lyrics are great. This again might have been intentional, so that the focus moves from music to lyrics.
Secret Superstar tries to do these things but it doesn't entirely work out for the film. It wants to reach out to the secret superstar within us or recognise the secret superstars around us. But, unfortunately it doesn't trust us to unveil that take-away for ourselves. It insists on spelling it out. While doing so, it takes on way too many issues on its shoulders, not doing complete justice to the three core issues it truly wants to address – domestic violence, female foeticide, and that one ought to follow their dreams. That leaves the film neither here nor there and way too long.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Advait Chandan’s film is a thoroughly rewarding cinematic experience, sweet and thought-provoking in equal measure. It is simple, but not simplistic, Aamir’s presence has given it pre-release visibility, but what gives it staying power through its running time is the strength of its storytelling and conviction. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, SECRET SUPERSTAR is a complete package: refreshing plot, water-tight screenplay, exceptional performances and soulful soundtrack. Strongly recommended! ... full review
Thumbs up, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...Secret Superstar is an important film that needs to be watched not just for the message, but also because it is entertaining and has one of the best performances of the year by Zaira Wasim. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayur Sanap, Deccan Chronicle : ...Although a little over-dramatic towards the end, Secret Superstar effectively strikes the emotional chord. With Zaira Wasim’s fine performance as the lead, this film has very good repeat value. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Dev Raj Gulati, Desi Martini : ...Where does SS fall short? It's not at all a musical.The same day travel between Vadodara and Mumbai for the recordings from the school and back are not believable. All in all the second half is powerful.The message conveyed is universal.Not to be missed.... full review
Thumbs up, by Maulin Parmar, Desi Martini : ...Kudos to the makers! If Aamir was not associated with this one, this film also would face the problem to survive, as lot's of good movies had been rejected by audience. Many are saying on twitter that this is the best film, but I don't think so! It is a good one time watch film. Not the best film of the year!... full review
Thumbs up, by Guest, Desi Martini : ...At heart, the movie has two threads – one of a young girl following her dream and the other of the relationship between a mother and daughter where they both become the nurturer at different points in time. It is engrossing, entertaining and inspirational. Ionly wish it had been a bit more subtle in its intensity. That would have given us a truly memorable movie. However, it still remains a wonderful movie to see, especially with kids. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...Solid performances, great music and solid writing, director Advait Chandan couldn’t have asked for a better setup for a debut film. While his direction isn’t always in A-game there’s enough insight there to suggest he’s a strong storyteller. Secret Superstar wears it’s emotions on the sleeve. It takes a tried and tested approach but even with it’s weak moments, this film creates genuine magic. It’s a perfect family film. Emotional, dramatic and a fulfilling movie experience.... full review
Thumbs up, by T J Reddy, fullhyd.com : ...As the movie does not lend itself to comedy as much, I'll throw in an observation of my own to send you home thinking if not smiling. Salman Khan still rules Eid and Aamir Khan still rules Christmas but Shahrukh Khan has been ousted from his tentpole Diwali release date. What does this mean? ... full review
Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...SECRET SUPERSTAR is a sweet little song of dream, hope, love and humanity, powered by winning acts by Zaira Wasim and Aamir Khan. If you love your family and believe in dream then don't miss to follow this SECRET SUPERSTAR near your theatre, you will hug your dreams and dear ones when it's over. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...But don’t that stand in your way of enjoying this film that is fuelled by absorbing performances. This film is also a fine example of a Bollywood superstar letting others shine. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...The first thing I personally did after watching Secret Superstar was to text my mom how much I love her. Watch the film to start believing in your dreams and to know how much your mother loves you.... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...But more than everything else, frankly, I've lost count of the number of times Aamir Khan has showed up in theatres in the final quarter, with what could be the most universally loved movie of the year. This is very likely to be another one. As you can tell, I totally loved it!... full review
Thumbs up, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...As a film, Secret Superstar may not be as good as Taare Zameen Par, but it does manage to drive the point home and proves to be a classic underdog tale, which will have you rooting for the plucky protagonist. Insia teaches you to fight for your dreams without losing heart. On the flip side, it does have some predictable moments, but we are willing to overlook it as ‘Secret Superstar’ is one of the few movies in recent times, which will make you tear up. If you genuinely love underdog stories, Secret Superstar should make your Diwali weekend...... full review
Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...There are times when Secret Superstar feels like a tacky production, as if made on a telefilm budget, and there are sequences that inevitably seem too long, particularly as we go into the film knowing what will happen and the film doesn't even try to prove us wrong.... full review
Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Zaira is an absolute treat - a bundle of miracles! As for the wonderful Meher Vij, one can only ask: where was she all these years? We hope to see more of her on the big screen. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Secret Superstar belongs to its incredible cast that glosses over many of the film’s minor lapses. Advait Chandan makes an assured directing debut, delivering a film that is ultimately heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...She effortlessly conveys the strength of a single-minded artiste, the temper of a hurricane holding back, the impulses of free-spirited adolescence and the guts of a girl who knows who she is. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, Times of India : ...If you are looking for substance, then this one has no logic, only magic. But, if you're looking to just laugh and be merry, Golmaal will again do the trick. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Raghav Jaitly, Zee News : ...Secret Superstar is undoubtedly Aamir's Diwali gift to cinema lovers. It will appeal to the audience of all age groups. If you judge the flick on the entertainment quotient, it falls a lil' short. But, at the end of the day, the movie is an excellent piece of cinema which brings forward various social issues and the attitude required to deal with them at the same time. ... full review
So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Secret Superstar is a heartwarming portrayal of girl power. A bit of restrain and some muted melodrama would have taken this film much further. It has long sturdy legs. But chooses not to go far enough. ... full review
So-So, by Sushant Mehta, india today : ...The film on a whole is a good, clean effort at narrating a very important story but suffers mainly due to the sluggish pace which is a result of the debutant writer-director's inability or unwillingness to go into the depths of the relationships, emotions and problems that he, it seems wanted to highlight. ... full review
So-So, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...To quote Shakti Kumaarr, Secret Superstar "mein potential hain" but it falls short on delivering a believable journey for its leading lady whose rise rings hollow. The film is not pitch perfect, but it has few memorable moments and a superstar-in-the-making in Zaira Wasim.... full review
So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...The film's apparent money line sounds like it was borrowed from a 90s TV show set in rural India — "Sapne dekhna toh basic hota hai, itna toh allowed hona chahiye". But looks past mediocre writing and this one's a decent watch, if not a wildly entertaining one. ... full review
So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...Nobody is going to come out and say that a film about loving your mother is terribly cliched. But it's festival time in India, where everyone is drowning in mithai (sweetmeats). If that is the case, go ahead, enjoy gold encrusted cliches dunked in sugar syrup. ... full review
So-So, by Karan Bali, Upper Stall : ...All in all, Secret Super marks a positive enough directorial debut for Advait Chandan. But truth be told, it also leaves you a little frustrated as it had solid potential to be a cracker of a film. As it is, the film has its share of high moments but finally falls short of being there. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Also, her insistence on Shakti Kumarr using his clout to get her an appointment with successful divorce Lawyer Sheena Sabavala (Mona Ambegoankar)- the one who fought against him during his own divorce, doesn’t make sense either. In fact there are far too many turns in this film that defy logic and render the narrative clichéd and stereotypical. While ‘Secret Superstar’ might have had the good intentions of showcasing Zaira Wasim’s talents as an actress, it clearly does disservice to the craft of filmmaking in the process. ... full review
zahidnk_78: Secret Superstar... One Word... “Outstanding”...
yasminshah82: Secret Superstar..a must watch movie! Thank you Aamir Sir for giving us this beautiful Diwali gift. Amazzzzzziiiiiiinnnnggg
writerhusain: भई.... वाह मज़ा आ गया Secret Superstar Excellent Movie @aamir_khan
vrajjjj: Secret superstar is amazing movie. Go and watch
VARUNEMA: For a fair advice...Go watch SECRET SUPERSTAR over Golmaal..
vanillawallah: Aamir Khan takes risks with movies like Secret Superstar and knows it will pay off for him cause the product as a whole is a good one.
urlegal: " Secret Superstar "...worth watch....Chase your dreams gals...V all are Secret Superstars
thevarunkaushik: Bestest of Best Movie !! Secret Superstar Excellent @zairawasimz @aamir_khan
thatsportgal: Watched this amazing, tear jerking movie 'Secret Superstar'. Made me appreciate my Mom, so much more.
tcartca: Don't miss Aamir khan's ' secret superstar ': a low key but fab depiction of an indian women's lib "Thus far but no further"! Brilliant!
tasisme: Secret Superstar is Brilliant!! Inspiring and heartening!!! All the actors were wonderful and @aamir_khan rocks as usual :-)
syedIrfaan4: Secret superstar loved it best film
supremestar4u: Secret Superstar ❤️❤️❤️❤️
sudhirbharadwaj: Superb movie "Secret Superstar". Great acting by @zairawasimz and Aamir Khan! Go watch it
subhac: Absolutely loved Secret Superstar. Rivetting movie. The girl and her mom, especially the mom. just love how real it all felt.
srimaya_rath: Watched Secret Superstar movie.. excellent watch! Hats off @aamir_khan #SecretSuperstar
Spamsterr: Absolutely loved the movie Secret Superstar.
shrimanji: Watched Amit Khan's Secret Superstar. Superb movie
shreyaenrique: Watched Secret Superstar... Such a sweet movie
Sharanu95236331: Secret superstar move supar
shankertwitting: आमिर की मूवीज ही बताती हैं कि "सिनेमा समाज का आईना होता है" Secret Superstar: 5 star rating movie
shaikh_mira: Secret superstar great movie Amir u r genius
saritasukhija: Secret Superstar - heart touchin movie..Talent will always rise, cant be hidden!! ##GirlChild#EspProudDaughters#WhoRproud2HvDaughters#10/10
sapphia: Saw Aamir Khan latest movie secret superstar. Great story line. Well made. Awesome like all his movies. Kudos!! Aamir!!!
Sameergaj: Just watched secret superstar ..what a movie sure shot BO winner .
rvknth043: Just loved Secret Superstar! Thank you @aamir_khan for making such great cinema. #mustwatch #SecretSuperstar
royhanjml: Sir @aamir_khan i don't know whatever you've been did for Secret Superstar, but i just know you did the best, more than Dangal
realMammu: Watched The Secret Superstar. An inspirational and beautiful movie. Never give up on your dreams! ✌
raviranjan164: Secret superstar a must watch in long time now #SecretSuperstar
raja_dillse: Secret Superstar - Amazing movie.
raahul_rahl: Secret Superstar - the Diwali gift from Aamir Khan to all Mothers and the motherhood
punti_z: Aamir Khan doesn't disappoint. Secret Superstar is a fantastic flick. #Bollywood
priyankalaxmii: Secret Superstar was so good! Aamir Khan killed it once again!!
priyankagangwar: "Secret superstar" a must watch movie!!
PritiKaliraman: secret superstar......best film..... isse shayad kuch nazaria badlee logoon ka.......☺️☺️☺️☺️☺️
Presstitute2: Secret Superstar is a superb movie. Finally Aamir has spoken about some good issue. We need more such movies.
pratik_p_gupta: Secret Superstar - Mind Blowing. Go watch it.
PieKapoor: I absolutely loved Secret Superstar! Emotional connect wins with this one :’)
philipharper1: Just watched Secret Superstar @SSTheFilm_ what a great movie! I laughed and cried, more people need to see this, it's brilliant.
pdparticle: Rare to find a quality Bollywood film these days. Appreciate how @aamir_khan still has standards for films. Secret Superstar was amazing!
ParuMahtani: Just saw Secret Superstar!! OMG!! Please see with your kids!! #SecretSuperstar
oblongboxes: Watched Secret Superstar and it was so lovely! It's so great that Aamir Khan's prod company is telling these amazing women's stories! ❤️❤️❤️
noneofurbijness: Secret Superstar is such a beautiful movie...Aamir exactly knows how to connect with audience at a human level..Zaira and Meher were LOVE!❤️
Nidheesh_Shaji: Secret Superstar - Amazing movie. Go n watch
nayak22092008: Secret superstar is very good watch
mohit7g: Very inspiring movie secret superstar thanks @aamir_khan for making such movie...
mnadzz: Guys. Secret Superstar is so good. I'm at intermission rn & Ive already cried so much. This movie hits home
masandamit: Secret Superstar- A must watch movie. Really Fantastic!
maqsoeb: Secret superstar is such a beautiful film! A MUST MUST watch movie !!! And watch it with your mother!! Can't get over how lovely it is!
manan: Secret superstar is an amazing movie. It's a layered take on society & individuality. I had tears.
manaman_chhina: Secret Superstar! What a movie. Makes you shed a few tears. But a fun movie too.
LoveAamir12: Secret Superstar imdb. 8.5/10 from 1,213 votes Golmal again 6/10 from 661 votes.
labrinth007: Secret superstar secretly aroused love towards my Mom for me , a must watch for all the #homosapiens. Thanks @kokodiaries @ZairaWasimmmmm ..
kiwinnsen: I am not overhyping anything but reserve all best actress award for Zaira Wasim, best supporting actress for Meher Vij. For Secret Superstar
kirandeshbattin: Secret superstar is the good one.@amirkhan
kelvinder_maan: Secret Superstar Kids Relationship is sooo cool
kaustuv: Stop what you are doing and watch Secret Superstar! Don’t miss it for anything. Yes, it is that good!!
kaliraman8: secret superstar movie is very beautiful.......
jagmohanshimla: Aamir Khan's 'Secret Superstar' one of the best movies from his production house. what story screenplay editing direction performances music
irshadaliazan: Secret superstar is a fantastic movie$#$ and# zaira Wasim ##
i_UCSY: The Review below by #DainikJagran gives 4.5 stars, I would give all 5 superstars
HeyIAm_Olaffff: secret superstar is damnn awesomeeeeeee
hemansbudhrani: The Secret superstar movie is shooted in vadodara and movie is very good watch with your family.. gamse badha ne. @vadodara
HasanSorful: Beeng a superstar or producer Amir Khan is the unique quality .....the new film secret superstar is again @ prove it
hasan_muhammad_: secret superstar... what a movie...
gupta_sadhan: Everyone's mother is a Secret Superstar. @aamir_khan Thanku for an amazing film again.
GhantaGuy: ‘Secret Superstar’ is a beautifully done underdog story. Hits the right notes on most counts. Dekhiye.
Ghanshy12857473: Secret Superstar a must watch movie.
gauti4Superstar: #SecretSuperstar Watched 2 times already
fspro2014: Secret Superstar- Must watch!!
fouroclxcks: secret superstar was such a good yet super emotionally harrowing movie i cried like 5 times
FMundewadi: Secret superstar amazing and best movie
farazsk7186: Excellent work by @aamir_khan...&...@zairawasimz from secret superstar.......!!
etherealgvddess: SECRET SUPERSTAR IS SOOOO FUCKING GOOD WTF
estouturco: Secret superstar very good @aamir_khan ☜
divsrg: i liked secret superstar. The ending was a bit OTT but overall good
Bilal_534: A must watch, Secret Superstar
BigBangBaba: Secret Superstar... excellent movie ... !!
b50: Brilliant movie Secret Superstar. Also, this is the Rangeela Aamir Khan, really missed him.
avtardas: #SecretSuperstar Do u know who is the secret superstar So watch it #BhaiDooj
avrajaniyer: Secret superstar is a very good movie. One must watch.
AshaMaharaj2: Very nice movie secret superstar nice presentation by amir khan
ansujay: Secret Superstar is super awesome!
Andyj1673: Secret superstar excellent movie, woman empowerment @gulmeenay @RameelAhmad
amit_vhdl: To mother... and motherhood... must watch Secret Superstar !! Gr8 work by Aamir Khan !!
AmanKayamHai_ET: What a beautiful movie, Secret Superstar! To mothers, to motherhood...see it with your daughter if U have one & ur ammi. Movie of the Year!
AllenLaina: Drove a total of 5+ hours today just to see Secret Superstar. Totally worth it. Amazing. Bravo #aamirkhan
Agnionfire: Saw secret superstar, loved it! But what is up with bringing in the whole band in the BG when the girl is holding just guitar?
ABHINAV_HR: Golmaal again and secret superstar dono roxxxxxxxxx
abhinav_bahiya: Secret Superstar is a very nice movie. Go & watch this movie with your friends and family. #SecretSuperstar
aashuwadhwa: Congratulations @aamir_khan on making such a beautiful movie. Secret superstar a must watch for all creators and mothers alike ❤️❤️
211shubhankar: "I just LOVED it," says Mark Kermode from The Film Review, BBC News, on - yes that's right - @aamir_khan's Secret Superstar!
_thejoke: my new favorite movie Secret SUPERSTAR @aamir_khan I love it, excellent work! a movie that should definitely be watched, turkee se pyaar!
_shaayraana: Golmaal Again >>> Secret Superstar
_AmlS: Y'all need to watch secret superstar
RAOkhushbakht: Watched Secret Superstar today,a good movie but wohi gheesi peeti story nothing new.
rajdeepkumar789: #GolmaalAgain Golmal again 5/5 Secret superstar 3/5
Me_Benaam: Secret Superstar highly watchable but loose direction.. Aamir khan's acting lets it down.. too obvious.. too predictable...too many cliche's
bhatnaturally: Despite the filmy moments of everything falling into place for an aspiring singer, Secret Superstar was sweet
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.