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Darsheel Safary on 10 years of Taare Zameen Par: People tell me their lives improved after the film released

Actor Darsheel Safary, who became everyone’s favourite when Taare Zameen Par released 10 years ago on this day, recounts how he landed the film.

bollywood Updated: Dec 21, 2017 11:30 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Darsheel Safary,Taare Zameen Par,10 years
Darsheel had played the adorable and naughty Ishaan in Aamir Khan’s directorial film Taare Zameen Par.

The year was 2007, and the date December 21 when a film called Taare Zameen Par released to universal acclaim and a great box-office response. What nobody had expected was that it would become a benchmark in terms of storytelling and acting. The then 10-year-old Darsheel Safary captured the hearts of millions with his near-perfect portrayal of a dyslexic boy, Ishaan Awasthi, who gets ridiculed by everyone around him for his inability to study and do everyday things, easily. His life changes completely when Ram Shankar Nikhumbh (played by actor Aamir Khan) enters the scene.

Darsheel, now a handsome 20-year-old, still remembers how he landed the film. He recalls, “I used to go to these dance classes where the posters for the film’s audition had been put up. When I saw that they only wanted an 11- year-old, I was really upset, since I was only nine. But what I didn’t know was that the writer of the film, Amole Gupte, had already befriended me. I didn’t know I was being eyed for the role. Ghar pe, you know, how family members are, hyping it up ki ‘Darsheel tere liye ek suprise hai’.”

Darsheel in a still from the film with actor Tisca Chopra, who played his mother.

“One day, Amole sir told me, ‘So Darsheel, you have come for the audition?’ Then I figured it out ki film ke liye hai. I didn’t know how the audition went, but for me, I thought I had been selected the moment I had stepped into that office. At home, I would go around telling everyone ‘main film kar raha hoon’. Everyone would shut me up. Later when my mom told me, ‘Darsheel, you have been selected’, I told her, ‘Yes, I know that. I have been telling it to everyone but no one believed me’. My mom was like, ‘You idiot, you had just given an audition,” laughs Darsheel.

Aamir and Darsheel in a still from the film. Aamir played his mentor, who helps him in overcoming his learning difficulty.

All praises for Aamir (who had directed the film too), he says, “The first time I met sir, he was wearing a cap and shorts, and he entered the room as a normal, chilled out guy. I was nine then, so I was excited as hell meeting the first celebrity ever in life. He was surrounded by this huge crowd of photographers. He said, ‘Hey Darsheel, what’s up?’ and I could only say ‘Hi’. Shooting for the film was really fun. We would play Uno and cricket on the sets. Aamir sir has this mischievous side that comes out only when he’s around kids.”

While he calls the whole experience as ‘memorable, he is happy with how, even 10 years later, people still call him Ishaan. “People ask me whether I feel bad that everyone remembers me for only that one film, but I take it in a positive way, that people associate a memory with you. Ek connect hua unke aur film ke beech mein. Some even tell me that their lives improved after the film came out. It feels good that I was a vessel for Aamir and Amole to show the audience and bring this story out. I always think that even if I do a 100 films, and people still remember me for Taare Zameen Par, it will still feel nice.”

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First Published: Dec 21, 2017 11:30 IST