Scene by Scene: ‘Mera Jahan’ – song from Taare Zameen Par

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Posted on February 6th, 2009 in Features, Movies

When watching Aamir Khan act, you know you can’t expect anything but the best. Last year, we all learned that the same goes for Aamir Khan the director. From the very beginning, Taare Zameen Par touches your soul, brings back unexpected memories and makes you shed tears you had promised yourself you would never spill out again. Taare Zameen Par is a cinematic masterpiece, wrapped in a precious soundtrack. Amongst all the songs, the one that stands out to me is ‘Mera Jahan’ and is my choice for this week’s scene.

THE SCENE:

Little Ishaan is a dreamy boy. From a little fish to a much bigger puddle, he can get distracted by anything. He has trouble reading and counting, and everyone blames him for being too dissipated. In this society where kids have to be perfect from their youngest years, Ishaan is the duffer. In many ways he’s different, but he is far from being stupid and he’s full of curiosity. The scene starts with the little boy in the hall outside the classroom after being expelled from his English class. One of his classmates reminds him of a math test he had to get signed by his parents, another thing he has forgotten to do. He decides to leave school for the rest of the day, remembering the punishment for this mistake and his father’s threats. There the song begins. The boy escapes from school without anyone noticing and starts walking down the streets. There, everything catches his attention and fascinates him: the peddlers, a house painter who is climbing a building, a father and his son spending some precious time together, a construction site, the immensity of the sea, the air, the birds, street kids playing around and the freedom.

WHY IT IS SO SPECIAL:

First of all, there is the pure voice of this child at the beggining, when Ishaan slowly leaves the room and the school: A little sweet, a little sour, a little close not too far… all I need is to be free. This voice resonates in your heart like the innocent cry for help it is. Then we can hear the soft and deep voice of Adnan Sami singing, punctuated with a children chorus. You can’t feel anything but compassion for the kid. There is also the way Ishaan looks at the little kid on his father’s shoulders and then the painting of that lonely child desperately holding his school slate. The whole scene is like a childhood memory of sounds and feelings. You look at beggars and street kids in a different way when you see them through the eyes of a child. Everything is fascinating for Ishaan because he is actually brighter than the other kids and has a totally different perception of the world. You can already guess he is an artist at heart. Finally, there is Aamir Khan’s unconditional love for India and for its people that is leaking out of this scene. One needs to know his country and his city very well to portray such a sensible, fair and accurate vision of it like the one Aamir Khan has done.

Kuch Toh Bolo!

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