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SECRET SUPERSTAR - Entertaining but also misguiding in terms of talent, struggle and success. (Review by Bobby Sing sharing the real scenario behind the scenes)

20 Oct, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Articles on Music, Poetry and Life

When a film reveals its entire subject or storyline in the trailer itself and doesn’t offer any instantly likable melodies (despite having music as its core theme), then it has to deliver something beyond the routine to gain the lost ground. Frankly SECRET SUPERSTAR partially succeeds in the task with its superlative lead performances but doesn’t come up as any outstanding, exceptional film marred by the lack of melodies, an over-length and some forced melodrama hampering its overall impact.
Written and directed by the debutant Advait Chandan, SECRET SUPERSTAR begins like a brilliant realistic film revolving around all fresh relatable characters and establishes an instant connect with the viewer promising a great time ahead. In fact I would not hesitate in calling its initial hour as the best part of the film with sequences taken straight out of our daily lives and homes, without Aamir Khan being there, vanishing after a few minutes introduction (in the beginning) as a reality show judge. In short both the director and his actors truly excel in the first half with Zaira Wasim (playing the 15 years old prodigy) and Meher Vij (as her suffering, uneducated mother) simply stealing your hearts with their so natural performances, along with the young Tirth Sharma as Zaira’s smart and helpful classmate. Aamir Khan actually enters the film in its second half and does bring smiles back on the faces with his own charming wit mocking the entertainment industry.
Having said that, as a film SECRET SUPERSTAR slowly moves from being completely natural to all filmy with a bit of forced, unrealistic melodrama, especially in its clichéd finale, predictably focusing on an underdog winner. Though Aamir successfully entertains the viewers in his few scenes but he also looks like overdoing it at times making fun of the music industry, that was more effectively seen in the much polished sequences of Imtiaz Ali’s ROCKSTAR. Besides, the two girls keep ruling the scenes despite Aamir’s towering presence, which is nothing short of a big achievement for both, particularly for Zaira playing the lead in just her second film.
The dialogues work well and supporting cast makes a valuable contribution too especially Mona Ambegaonkar as the tough divorce lawyer, Raj Arjun as the abusive husband and the little kid. But the two biggest shortcomings of the project remain its excessive length and average soundtrack that fails to lift up the film based on music itself.
To be honest, this brings me back to the same old repetitive line that ‘the songs sound okay while watching the film, but they are not the ones you would like to take back home giving a repeated listening”. If truth be told, our lyricists are constantly coming up with all meaningful lyrics in films based on such social subjects but it’s the melodies where we have rarely scored in the recent two decades with only a few exceptions. Moreover it actually hurts when it happens to be in a film which is ironically talking about some well composed songs uploaded at YouTube getting instant recognition and lakhs of hits.
For a moment, just give it a realistic thought that is any song of SECRET SUPERSTAR worthy enough of getting lakhs of hits on YouTube if posted by an unknown identity? The answer is a big NO and everyone related to the music business very well knows that.
Anyway coming to the conclusion, the film beautifully tackles the issue of our dreams, ambitions and social curses like domestic violence or preferences given to the boys in its brilliant first half, but falls way short of being something remarkable or special in its forced dramatic second moving away from the reality. It scores maximum in terms of its two key performers (Zaira & Meher Vij) excelling in their given roles, but the film isn’t something as inspiring as TAARE ZAMEEN PAR or DANGAL in its onscreen execution and reach.
In short, you will certainly feel nice living with the courageous daughter and her mother for a good 150 minutes in the theater. But that is all what the film offers, a good one time watch entertainment for your time and money spent.
Rating : 3 / 5 (with special mention of its opening titles that are in three languages, Hindi, English and Urdu as it always used to be in the past, before even the languages became victim of the unfortunate new-age divides and prejudices.)
(But since multiplexes yet again raised the ticket prices for this Diwali release, without following any balanced policy of lowering the same for comparatively smaller films, therefore a star stands deducted from its ratings as per BTC’s individual continuous revolt against this uncontrolled exploitive system.)
Net Ratings : 2 / 5

(An edited form of the articles was also featured at UC-News Mobile App in October 2017)


Shared below are views - Beyond the initial write-up with more insightful thoughts.
In the review shared above, it has been mentioned that SECRET SUPERSTAR isn’t actually an 'Inspiring Film' for the youth, since it wrongly showcased the success achieved so conveniently. 
The film is a well-enacted, entertaining one time watch for sure, focusing on the mother-daughter relationship, but never an inspiring one in terms of talent, struggle, its nurturing or exploring its commercial prospects.
And how it isn’t any realistic inspiring film…… I am giving a first-hand account in the pointers below, that might turn out be a big eye-opener as well as disheartening, brutal truth for many youngsters dreaming to be as successful as Zaira……. by just uploading a video online.
1. You have a GOOD VOICE - That’s no longer any valuable asset since the beginning of the new millennium.

Till the 80s, it was considered a rare, blessed gift to have a great voice and singing skills impressing the keen listeners.
In the 90s, it still remained a gift or asset as new audio companies and channels were in constant search of fresh talent to exploit and explore for their own benefits.
In the 2000s, the companies stopped putting in money with loads of choices available and the voice no longer remained any rare gift.
And post 2010, it doesn’t really matter you have a great voice or not (with amazing gadgets available). What matters is how much you can spend on yourself and your product becoming a complete package in the market.
So in the present, if you have a lovely voice, consider it as a blessed gift for sure……, but not any great, valuable asset that alone can make you achieve some big success in the market, since there are no audio companies, producers giving chances to new artists as their future investment. Now you first have to make a complete song or songs on your own (including the video) spending a big amount of money on the entire project and then take it to the companies for exploitation and that too on their given terms.

In short, it’s not so easy anymore or just sufficient to have a good voice as shown in the film not revealing the actual scenario.

As another real example, just think how many of those numerous talented singers seen in the TV reality shows (in the last 15 years praised by stalwarts) have actually become celebrity playback singers in the industry? The number would clearly give you an idea…… and in case you have the names of Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Arijit Singh and more in your minds, then you cannot even imagine how much hard-work, passion and struggle for years is behind their present success in the market, not known to all. 

Giving you the actual picture, most of the good singers active in this stream you had earlier seen in these TV reality shows are actually earning from their Live-shows and not playback singing, which range from a private-birthday-sangeet-marriage party to a corporate celebration and rarely a ticketed show. And again there is a whole hell of a hard work that goes into these live shows with 6-8 piece orchestra satisfying various types of audiences that might appear to be so easy for many.
2. Success at YouTube counting your views is a BIG MIRAGE (unless you are making loads of money from the same which is an extreme rarity).

“Sitting in my home, I will become successful with just a couple of uploads online, using my broadband and unlimited data transfer.” - That’s the biggest misconception in the minds of many youngsters today and the film loudly supports this alluring, superficial idea misguiding them all.

Yes, you can be that one in the millions for sure, if lady luck is there on your side in an unbelievable way as in the case of Freida Pinto reaching Hollywood with a single film fame. But one should very well know the probability of being that chosen one.

Moreover any kind of credibility built at such social networks takes years and not just days or months, before you start enjoying a decent fan following in thousands or lakhs. 

Okay, let me give you the reality of present Punjabi music scene as a funny example in reference to these fake likes and comments.

In the current Punjabi music scenario, a young untrained singer, posting a home recorded track on Youtube, starts considering himself as an established trained singer reaching the figure of just 10-20K views. And the one getting to 1-2 lakh or more begins calling himself a ‘Celebrity’. 

But since they very well know that many might not be aware of their hidden YouTube success, so they start attending public functions with 2 or 3 hired bouncers, so that people automatically assume them to be a celebrity, asking for their hit album/song’s name.

And mind you, all these activities are done by spending their own money without any audio company’s support or backing. 

That’s actually the way how such fake YouTube success is being celebrated nowadays.
3. It’s the content being FREE that actually works …… giving you a mostly false feedback.

Before the new millennium, we had to buy our music as cassettes, LPs or CDs. The albums had to be bought and therefore the choice was of an utmost importance resulting in a well-chosen quality purchase refusing the mediocre ones. So only those albums used to become a success that were considered value for the money spent and we used to cherish them all.

At present, the same music is available FREE at YouTube and other portals.
And when it’s all free, it’s not being carefully chosen as there is no upfront money to be paid for hearing a specific song (apart from the fixed data charges). 

Keeping that in mind, for a moment, just recall the song you last heard or watched at Youtube or any other portal. Assume that the same song is now available for a payment of Rs.5/- or 10/-. 

Would you still go for it, willingly paying the price? OR Will you just skip it at once in search of something better?
8 or 9 times out of 10 you will skip, since you just tried it as it was FREE!

And that’s exactly how you slowly and steadily start listening and praising all mediocre stuff available at such sites for FREE, painting a fake picture for their artists, who start feeling like a celebrity receiving such great response in the form of likes and comments.

Relating it with the soundtrack of SECRET SUPERSTAR, you all have heard its songs and may be praised them too. But how many of you will be willing to purchase any of its song or the complete soundtrack of the film for a price?
The answer is known to all, whether one is willing to accept it or not.

To be straight it’s the content available at no cost, that is working in most of the cases misguiding you to praise mediocrity and not quality. And this FREE availability also remains the reason why you keep watching every random video received in your Whats App groups too without caring about the valuable time spent or wasted. 
Just assume, will you be watching all that stuff on your phone, if every video seen was charged Rs.5 each?

4. Lastly but most importantly, it all becomes actually scary when the kids start learning from YouTube too as a virtual teacher ignoring the learned, living teacher around them.

SECRET SUPERSTAR no doubt promotes YouTube as a strong social tool that can be used to showcase your individual talent. But it also introduces the site in a different scary manner to the youth that is fast spreading like fire.

Hence, the bottom line addressing the young friends is that do use these networks to share your talent and capabilities reaching out to more like-minded friends both within the country and abroad. But don’t expect or think about some instant results in days as prominently shown in the film. 

The success in the virtual world can easily be described as a sweet mirage which gets broken the moment you step out of its range meeting the real world and people.

So be active on these sites, carefully nurturing your gifted talents but don’t get carried away by the number of likes and comments made, enjoying a fake celebrity status in an unseen, imaginary world. 

Here at times a film gets countless praises on its FB page or channel before its official release and then not even thousands go to watch it in the theaters buying the costly ticket. 

So be creative and keep creating as per your own talents.
But be intelligently aware as well

Tags : SECRET SUPERSTAR Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Aamir Khan productions.
20 Oct 2017 / Comments ( 4 )
Thank you Bobby Sing, for going out of your way and take pains to explain the stark reality to all those aspiring souls out there, and dreaming big. Your chronoligical data of last 5 decades is brilliant and useful for anyone with elementary knowledge. Dream big is indeed a great inspiring quote, but the "propability of success"is worsening as we are mobing ahead. Excellent Bobby, keep up the good work Buddy..
Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your kind appreciation Dharma Kirthi.
Hope this write-up is able to help and guide the youngsters with big hopes from an industry that has gone more shallower than ever before at the present.
May the best get his deserving due and chance with

Dear Bobby This is the second day on which I came here to see your review on golmaal again" But disappointed to see that it is not there Your fan Nitin
Bobby Sing

Dear Nitin,
Sorry for keeping you waiting but actually there is a catch here. 
Since I am writing for UC-News at present so I post the UC-News link of Review some hours or a day later only here at BTC.
But a short one line review of new releases is given by Friday afternoon/evening itself at FB and Twitter.
May be we are not connected at these platforms. But no issues you can still see the updates here at BTC website by checking the FB window coming right at the end of the right hand coloumn.

Please do refer to that if the review is not upated at the site as that will keep you informed about the latest reviews and postings.
You can be in touch at FB / Twitter too or can also download UC-News app at your mobile and follow me there.

Do let me know if there is any issue in being connected throught these links.
As suggested would surely try to post the 'Beyond The Review' article at BTC more sooner.



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