Darsheel Safary as Ishaan
Those who remember Taare Zameen Par will find Like Stars on Earth very familiar. For others, who are familiar with the usual stories about children with disabilities who benefit from concern on the part of a
caring adult, the story will be familiar, too. I remark on it here as a reminder about Dyslexia Awareness Month and ’cause I’m sometimes a sucker for smaltzie uplifting stories.
Ishaan Awasthi is an eight-year-old whose world is filled with wonders that no one else seems to appreciate; colours, fish, dogs and kites are just not important in the world of adults, who are much more interested in things like homework, marks and neatness. Ishaan just cannot seem to get anything right in class.
And so, he gets into far more trouble than his parents can handle, and is packed off to a boarding school to ‘be disciplined’. Things are no different at his new school, and Ishaan has to contend with the added trauma of separation from his family.
One day a new Art Teacher bursts onto the scene, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, who infects the students with joy and optimism. He breaks all the rules of ‘how things are done’ by asking them to think, dream and imagine, and all the children respond with enthusiasm, all except Ishaan. Nikumbh soon realizes that Ishaan is not happy being at school, and sets out to discover why. With time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find himself.