Amole Gupte, the creative director, created most of the paintings credited to Ishaan.
Aamir Khan received special permission from Amitabh Bachchan to use Abhishek Bachchan's experiences in the film. The reference is made in terms of Abhishek being one of the most successful stars and how he came to star in the blockbuster Dhoom (2004), overcoming the dyslexia that he had during childhood.
Salman Khan is credited with suggesting the movie's title to Aamir Khan when they both met at a party.
Darsheel Safary, the child artiste of the film, had to face a lot of opposition from his school when he was shortlisted for the film. The fact that he would have to miss school for such a long period did not go down well with the school authorities. However, Aamir Khan insisted that only Darsheel play the character, so he came up with a solution to fix the problem. He personally assured the school authorities that Darsheel's studies wouldn't be hampered with. Aamir arranged for personal tuition for Darsheel all through the academic year so that he wouldn't miss his exams. He also funded his studies as well as his educational expenses.
Noted artist Samir Mondal made three paintings for Aamir Khan for this film and did not charge anything for them. His works normally sell in the range of Rs. 100,000 to 700,000, depending on the size of the painting.
India's official submission to the Foreign-Language Film category of the 2009 Academy Awards.
The International Dyslexia Association screened Taare Zameen Par on October 29, 2008 in Seattle, where it was met with a standing ovation.
The house where Ram (Aamir Khan) places Ishaan's scratch-built boat/airplane model on his side table next to his own parents' photo is Aamir Khan's actual house in Panchgani. The actor bought some land there to develop.
Darsheel Safary, the 11-year-old star of the film, is a part of Shiamak Davar's dance troupe. During one of the classes, he saw a poster that read, "Hunting for a naughty kid. If you're selected, you will get a chance to act with Aamir Khan." He thought that it would be great if he was able the film. During the same class, Amole Gupte spotted him and asked him to go for an audition. Eventually, he got selected.
Legendary actor Guru Dutt's younger sister and 'Kalpana Lajmi''s mother, 75-year-old Lalitha Lajmi, made her acting debut with this film. Lalitha, who is a noted painter and teacher, appears in a cameo role in which she plays herself. She shot it in November 2006 at Panchgani. She is seen as a chief guest who hands out a prize to the protagonist Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary).
Deepa Bhatia stated in an interview with The Hindu that her original inspiration was not dyslexia but rather the childhood of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who performed poorly in school. Her goal was thus to explore the story of "a child who did not fit into the school stream." She referenced a specific moment in Kurosawa's biography where he began to excel after meeting an attentive art teacher, and noted that this scene "became the inspiration for how a teacher could transform the life of a student."
Claymation was used in the opening credits for three minutes and for all the important parts of Ishaan's life. A lot of transitions that take place, such as water changing into a spaceship, a fish changing into a jellyfish, and so on were created by Dhimant Vyas, who had done the storyboards for the movie Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001).
Darsheel Safary got an Xbox 360 as a birthday gift from Aamir Khan on 9th March 2007.
Aamir Khan did not direct the entire film. Ram Madhvani (who directed the Boman Irani Hinglish starrer Let's Talk (2002)) directed the song "Bheja Kum," which was shot in a school in Panchgani. This is duly credited at the beginning of the end credits of the movie.
In the scene where Vipin Sharma hits Darsheel, Vipin was hesitant and couldn't hit him properly as Darsheel would start laughing so finally Aamir came with a solution, he wore Vipin's shirt which was sweaty and hit Darsheel facing his back to the camera.
The name Nikumbh, given to Aamir's character, was the name of Amole Gupte's (the creative director and the writer of this film) art teacher, the late Shri R. S. Nikumbh, who was also the principal of the Hansraj Morarji Public School.
Darsheel Safary became the youngest nominee for Filmfare Award for Best Actor. He couldn't make it because it was won by Shah Rukh Khan for Chak de! India.
Amole Gupte brought his original script to his friend Aamir Khan and asked him to produce & star in the film, with Gupte as the director. However, after filming began Khan wasn't happy with Gupte's direction, returned the script to him and suggested he find another star & producer. Gupte replied that he still wanted Aamir to star & produce, and that they should find another director. After spending time trying to find a suitable director they became concerned that their child actor, Darsheel Safary, would age too much for the film. Gupte then suggested that Khan direct, and Khan agreed, making this the first film he has ever directed.
Vipin Sharma initially auditioned for the role of the Hindi language teacher, but ended up getting the role of Ishaan's father.
While Amol Gupte wrote the script, he had Akshaye Khanna in mind for Aamir Khan's role.
Aamir Khan mentioned Abhishek Bachchan in the film, crediting him for Dhoom (2004). Coincidentally, Aamir would later star in Dhoom 3 (2013).
Amole Gupte was set to direct the film until he was replaced one week later with Aamir Khan. This was because Gupte was not confident about his directing abilities.
Initially the film was to retain the short story's title of "High Jump", because of Ishaan's inability to achieve the high jump in gym class.
In the alternate ending (which was filmed and supposed to be kept=), a "ghost image" separates from Ishaan after the art competition and runs to the sports field; the film would end on a freeze frame of Ishaan successfully making the leap. Khan, however, was unhappy with that proposed ending and convinced Gupte to rewrite it.
The production team searched for a Mumbai school with an "oppressive" feel to establish the "heaviness of being in a metropolitan school", and eventually chose St. Xavier's School. As the school is situated along the main road, filming took place on weekends, to minimise the background noise,
Because filming at New Era High School occurred during the winter holiday, those portraying Ishaan's classmates gave up their vacation to participate.
New to acting, the children often made errors such as staring into the camera, and Khan resorted to unorthodox methods to work around their rookie mistakes.
The scene that involved Nikumbh enlightening his class about famous people who suffer from dyslexia, and the children's responses to his speech were the last portion to be filmed. Having already spent 3-4 days hearing the dialogue the children's reactions were "jaded". Khan opted to film them while he recited a tale, and manipulated his storytelling to achieve the varying spontaneous reactions.
The husband and wife team of Amole Gupte and Deepa Bhatia developed the story that would eventually become Taare Zameen Par as a way of understanding why some children cannot conform to a conventional educational system.
Amol Gupte and his wife Deepa Bhatia developed the work as a short story that evolved into a screenplay over seven years.
In developing the character of a young boy based on Akira Kurosawa, Bhatia and Gupte explored some possible reasons why he failed in school. Their research led them to groups such as the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association and Parents for a Better Curriculum for the Child (PACE). Dyslexia eventually became the central topic and theme of the film.
Bhatia and Gupte worked with dyslexic children to research and develop the screenplay, basing characters and situations on their observations. They carefully concealed the children's identities in the final version of the script.
For the first scene to be filmed--Ishaan returning home from school and putting away his recently collected fish--and becoming comfortable with his new responsibilities. Believing that the audience should not be aware of the camera, he chose a simple shooting style for the film that involved relatively little camera movement.
The opening scene of Ishaan collecting fish outside his school was shot on location and at Film City. Shots focusing on Ishaan took place at the former, while those involving the gutter terrarium were filmed at a water tank at the latter. The tank's water often became murky because the mud would rise to the top, forcing production to constantly empty and refill it. Due to this hindrance, the scene took eight hours to film.[
The opening scene of Ishaan collecting fish outside his school was shot on location and at Film City. Shots focusing on Ishaan took place at the former, while those involving the gutter terrarium were filmed at a water tank at the latter. The tank's water often became murky because the mud would rise to the top, forcing production to constantly empty and refill it. Due to this hindrance, the scene took eight hours to film.
The sequence which involved Ishaan playing with two dogs. To compensate for the "absolutely petrified" Safary, most joint shots used a body double, though other portions integrated close-up shots of the actor.
New Era High School served as Ishaan's boarding school. The change of setting was a "breath of fresh air" for the production crew, who moved from Ishaan's small house in Mysore Colony, Chembur to the "vast, beautiful environs" of Panchgani.
Production relied on stock footage for the brief scene of a bird feeding its babies. Khan carefully selected a clip to his liking, but learned three weeks before the film's release that the footage was not available in the proper format. With three days to replace it or else risk delaying the release, Khan made do with what he could find. He says that he "cringes" every time he sees it.
A total of 1,500 children were used for wide-shots of the film's art-fair climax; medium shots only required 400 students.
To fill out the campus background, students from nearby schools were also brought in.
The scene that featured a school assembly; Khan wanted the students to act naturally and to ignore the principal's speech, but recognised that this would be a difficult feat with cameras present. First Assistant Director Sunil Pandey spoke continuously in an attempt to "bore the hell out of [them]", and they eventually lost interest in the filming and behaved normally.
For the scene that had the children playing around a nearby pond, horrified when he learned that the water was 15 feet (4.6 m) deep, Khan recruited four lifeguards in case a child fell in.
Khan found it important that the audience connect the film to real children, and had Pandey travel throughout India filming documentary-style footage of children from all walks of life, which is shown during the end credits.
The art department's designs for Ishaan's school notebooks disappointed Khan, who had familiarised himself with dyslexic writing. Using his left hand, Khan instead wrote it himself.
Shiamak Davar choreographed the dance sequence of "Bum Bum Bole," and was given free rein over its design. He had intended to use 40 students from his dance school, but Khan did not want trained dancers. Davar gave the children certain cues and a general idea of what to do, but left the style and final product up to them to avoid a choreographed appearance.
For song 'Bheja Kam ', it was intended to represent a young boy's worst nightmare, in terms of the worst thing that he can think of. Madhvani based the visual concept on his son's fear of "creepy-crawlies" such as cockroaches, dragonflies, and lizards. Tata Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs made the creatures out of the English alphabet and numbers, although Khan insisted they include the Hindi alphabet as not all the audience would be familiar with English. The chalkboard writing's transformation into a snake was included to surprise the audience and "end the song on a high note.
The title song is mostly set to the annual day performance by the developmentally disabled children of Tulips School. Actual students from Tulips School and Saraswati Mandir participated, and were filmed over a period of five days. The sequence originally featured numerous dance performances, but was trimmed down when test audiences found it too long.
A song accompanying the scene in which Ishaan's mother is watching home videos of her son was also cut, and replaced with background music after test audiences expressed their opposition to yet another song.
In writing the title song, lyricist Prasoon Joshi followed the theme of "however much you talk about children, it's not enough." Every line throughout the song describes children, and only one repeats: "Kho Naa Jaaye Yeh / Taare Zameen Par" ("Let us not lose these / Little stars on earth").
Timing and other aspects are usually planned when scoring a film, but Khan chose to take a more improvised approach. Instead of using a studio, he and the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy recorded it at Khan's home in Panchgani, to clear their heads and not be in the mindset of the city.
As the team watched the film, Khan pointed out when he wanted music to begin and of what type. Ehsaan Noorani noted that this strategy allowed the score to have a "spontaneity to it."
Different styles of background music were used to convey certain things. For example, a guitar is played when Ishaan is tense or upset, sometimes with discordant notes. The music of the opening scene-the recurring "Ishaan's Theme," which represents the character's peace of mind-overpowers the background noise to show that Ishaan is lost in his own world; the noise becomes louder after he snaps back to reality.
The International Dyslexia Association screened the film on 29 October 2008 in Seattle, Washington. Khan noted in his official blog that there were about 200 people in the audience and that he was "curious to see the response of a non-Indian audience to what we had made."
About the publicity poster of the film features Aamir Khan and Darsheel Safary sitting in the classroom, Khan said that he knew immediately when setting up the shot--part of the montage that details Ishaan's tutoring by Nikumbh--that it would be the "key art of the film". Khan noted, "This one shot tells you the entire story."
The scene in which Ishaan is sent out of the classroom was filmed on the day of the Mumbai Marathon. The production staff placed acrylic sheets invisible to the naked eye on the classroom windows to mask the sounds of nearby crowds and helicopters.