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Disability and its stigmatization in “Taare Zameen Par”

In the movie Taare Zameen Par we see how disability is given negative connotations. A key example we have of this is when Raj Shankar Nikumbh (Amir Khan) approaches Ishaan’s parents and tells them that their child has dyslexia, his father is not ready to accept that Ishaan has a problem. In fact he jumps to a very pessimistic conclusion which is reflected through his dialogue:

“Aap kia kehna chah rahe hain? mera bacha mentally retarded hai?”

Then on another occasion we see that when some of the teachers at the boarding school are sitting in the staff room, one of them refers to the special children at Tulip School as “abnormal” and “mentally retarded”. He even tells Ram Shankar Nikumbh that he can experiment with his teaching methods all he likes at that school because those children are not capable of achieving anything in life anyway. Such degrading remarks reflect the negative stereotypes that surround such individuals.

These ideas can also be connected to what Rebecca Mallett quotes in her reading on disability criticism:

A cripple is still a man, but, as it were, on a smaller scale. His totality is diminished, his image is distorted. He is not whole.’ (Battye, 1966) ‘The cripple is the creature who has been deprived of his ability to create a self.’ (Kriegel, 1987, p. 33)

Thus it can be said while Ishaan may not be physically handicapped, his learning disabilities cause him to be underestimated and he is not considered worthy of deserving the affection that is shown to normally functioning children. This eventually results in him feeling so isolated that he stops expressing his creativity through painting and becomes very quiet.

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The movie itself was very amazing. it had touched some serious themes that a student specially the role assigned to Ishant came across. Everyone grew up in different environment and use different approaches to learn the the things. Our society played crucial role in creating such children. Rather than knowing about their interests and exploring their abilities, they make them a horse for race intend to compete the world. No one want to be a hand that can help a child to pull him out of such complexes, to make him/her comfortable.

Even there were some teacher i remember in my school times, they just want the toppers to learn what they want to teach. Even when some average ask…


When I first watched this movie as a child, I did not fully understand that Ishaan had dyslexia, but even then I understood and felt bad for how isolated he was because he was a human being. Drawing from the reading, I think our society has stigmatized mental health and people with disabilities so much that we do not know or understand that they are human beings as well, who have similar needs, for example, Ishaan would still want the care and attention of his parents, even when he has a learning disorder. For this, it is important to have a teacher like Amir Khan who is empathetic, understanding and is making an effort to try to be a friend…


I believe this movie did an amazing job in trying to spread awareness regarding differently abled people and how they should not be discriminated against. However, growing up I have often witnessed people using Ishaan's character as an insult among friends as well which I think is extremely problematic. It's time that we take such issues seriously since we are surrounded by many such people who might be differently abled but are exceptionally skillful. Taare Zameen Par also played a huge role in encouraging parents to believe in their children and to give them space to choose whatever field they want to choose. It taught the viewers how every child is different and should not be compared to other children.


This movie truly very well portrays the stigma attached to mental health. We tend to look at disability and mental illness in such negative light although, just as there are physical illness, there are mental illnesses too. In this case, the person experiencing it suffers the most such as Ishaan in the movie. The children having the disability are never heard and instead blamed for their attitude which worsens the problem. This movie highlights a very strong message that every child is unique in their own way. Disability is not a weakness and it does not make you inferior than anyone. Everyone is talented so don't let anyone or anything hold you back. Together with this, it also emphasizes on…


This movie is a great example which explains that mental health is a taboo topic in our society and how carelessly it is handled. Relating it to our own society, in every household we have an example that how parents fail to acknowledge the fact that their child might has a mental illness. This movie played a very important role by spreading the word that not every child can become a topper and everyone has different kind of skills in which they are extra ordinary. Thus, we must acknowledge this fact and give everyone their space and choice to choose whatever they want to.

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