A child with dyslexia and a trio of matchmaking gangsters wooed the Bollywood box-office over the weekend with audiences giving the thumbs up to both Taare Zameen Par and Welcome.
Billed as a toast to children and childhood, Taare Zameen Par is actor Aamir Khan’s first outing as a director and delves into the world of a special child whose talent is only understood by a sensitive teacher.
The film, an example of how Indian filmmakers are moving from escapist sagas to more prosaic issues, saw many in the audience identifying with the problem of stiff parental expectation and academic competition.
"I could see many people in the hall wiping their tears," said 21-year-old student Aarti Joshi.
But there were some complaints about the film's sluggish first half and the director's obsession with depicting the minutiae of the child's world.
"Aamir has gone out of the way to present every single detail of Ishaan's thought pattern which could have been cut down," said businessman Akash Sharma.
Actor Darsheel Safary, who plays the 8-year-old protagonist, came in for special praise.
''The entire film revolved around him and he pulled off every scene with ease," said businessman Rajesh Goswami.
Audiences also reacted positively to Anees Bazmee’s Welcome - a romantic comedy about three gangsters on the lookout for a suitable groom.
Actor Akshay Kumar stole the show in his role as the man wooing the sister of a possessive gangster (Nana Patekar).
''If Welcome becomes a hit, he will be surely one of the main driving forces behind it,'' said director Bazmee. ''He is our USP."
Although several viewers like 19-year-old Vishal Indulkar found the film endearing enough for a repeat viewing, some thought the slapstick element was overused.
"You enjoy it for some time but then you will stop laughing…there's no subtlety," said Aruna Pathak.