As we celebrate and honor all the mothers in our lives, I felt inspired to share about a recent Bollywood movie- Secret Superstar – that beautifully depicts how mothers are the real stars but often their love and devotion to their children and families remains secret and unacknowledged.
At the surface, Secret Superstar is the story of a talented teenage singer- songwriter, Insia, who aspires to become an international Indian singing star. Her mother supports her unconditionally, but her conservative father forbids her. He wants Insia to finish school and then plans to marry her off. Insia, dressed in a burqa so she won’t be recognized, makes a YouTube video of herself singing while playing the guitar, and the video goes viral. Soon, she is offered a singing contract to perform in Mumbai, and her dreams finally seem to be coming true.
This is the surface storyline. Yet the subplot is more dark- and revolves around the domestic abuse that Insia’s mom faces daily. Insia believes that by making something of herself she can free her mom, herself and her younger brother from her father’s constant abuse- physical, financial as well as psychological. Insia wants her mom to divorce her dad but her mom cannot break her commitment to her marriage. Eventually, Insia must choose between staying to support her mother or breaking free to follow her passion.
Secret Superstar shows that mother-daughter relationships often are complex. As daughters, we somehow need to ‘be different’ or ‘do more’ or ‘be more’ than our mothers. For example, when I was a young girl, I resisted learning cooking from my mom because somehow it represented becoming something I was determined not to be- an ordinary housewife. I was studying hard to become a doctor to ‘make something’ of my life- so learning to brew chai, cook chapati or season a vegetable curry- all seemed such a waste of my time! Well, fast forward to today, and I find that chopping vegetables, kneading dough or simply adding spices to make chai- all are wonderful ways for me to slow down, and be fully present to the moment. Today, I treasure all the times I cook with my mom; I am amazed at all she teaches me! It is truly humbling to know that sharing a well-prepared meal with my family is as healing as anything I could offer as a doctor because each meal is made with Love, and that is what truly heals.
In the end, Insia learns that true ‘stardom’ and freedom come not from ‘becoming something’ or ‘achieving something’ but by joining with Love with what is before us. This powerful acceptance and joining does not condone domestic abuse but instead allows her mom to deal with her marriage on her own terms- which ironically is the same freedom that Insia seeks for her own life.
The movie is available on Netflix and here is a trailer.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there- you are all truly the secret superstars!
Source for poster: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55287202