Secret Superstar: Highway Reel Film Review

secret superstar

A star that shines despite the occasional dark cloud

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The Verdict:

Zara Waseem as Insia, Meher Vij as Najma and Amir Khan and Shakti Kumaarr impress with brilliant performances. However, in a bid to be a realistic film, Secret Superstar often becomes dreary and grim.

Surprisingly, for a film about a singer, the songs are a huge let down, save for the haunting Main Kaun Hoon.

But these issues apart, it is hugely gratifying to root for Insia as well as Najma and the heart does do a little dance when they surmount their many obstacles.

It is definitely a one-time watch and do take your kids along.

The Story:

Secret Superstar is the story of a 15-year-old Insia, who has irrepressible dreams. These dreams in her eyes don’t lose their shine despite Insia’s oppressive household or the small city she hails from.

She only wants two things in life. One is to be a singer and win a talent show.  The second is to help her mother divorce her abusive father and start life afresh.

In Secret Superstar,  the mother Najma wholeheartedly shares Insia’s dream to be a singer but has made peace with her kismet as a wife!

Najma will do anything to see Insia become a superstar.  From creative solutions to circumvent the conservative and violent husband to scrimping and saving money to buy Insia a laptop. This laptop soon becomes a window to the world outside as well as the medium for Insia to share her melodious voice.

By way of anonymous videos on YouTube, Insia’s videos go viral and in no time she is a singing sensation.  This wins her many fans and the attention of a leading music composer, Shakti Kumaarr.

Shakti Kumaarr, with the added A’s and R’s, is known as much for his scandalous divorce, his straightforward opinions and tantrums as a judge on talent shows as he is known for his music. He also nurses a wound – being nominated for awards every year but never winning one.

Insia, only in the know of his public persona, ignores his offers. What makes her change her mind? Who supports her in this huge leap?

With the very first recording, Insia’s voice cuts through the cynical Shakti’s hearts. The song is a hit and is nominated for the same award function Insia used to fantasise about. But all dreams must die as her father has decided to move the whole family to Saudi Arabia. He has also found a groom for Insia.

After being pushed to the wall, can Insia and Najma salvage their dreams, their freedom and all that’s in between?


Secret Superstar: Written & Directed by Advait Chandan

– Reviewed by Nandini Arora

Nandini Arora is a TV writer by profession, having contributed to many a masala saas-bahu shows. She seeks masala in her real life too, sometimes by unashamed gossip, delectable food and in books. She loves movies and discussing them even more, over a cup of elaichi chai!




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