Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) is an eight-year-old whose world is filled with wonders that no one else seems to appreciate; colors, 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. And Ishaan just cannot seem to get anything right in class.
When he gets into far more trouble than his parents can handle, he 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 (Aamir Khan), 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 very unhappy, and he sets out to discover why. With time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find himself.