Friday, December 04, 2009

Paa - Movie Review

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Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan,
Vidya Balan, Paresh Rawal, Arundhati Naag
Year: 2009
Music: Ilayya Raja
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Editor: Anil Naidu
Executive Producer: Anita Anand Zutshi, Jitendra Bagga
Banner: Big Pictures, Mad Entertainment Ltd.
Producer: Sunil Manchanda, AB Corp, Big Pictures
Story and Director: R. Balki

Paa is a film driven by a simple narrative, a sweet, heartfelt story of relationships and some of the best performances of the year. The film is not about a child with Progeria; yes the character of Auro played brilliantly by Amitabh Bachchan is afflicted with the rare genetic disease but the film is essentially a story about a young boy's relationship with his single mother, and ultimately his relationship with his father who is unaware of his existence until then. The beauty of the film is that you see everything through the eyes of this innocent yet extremely intelligent and witty thirteen year old, opening up an innocent world to the audiences that most of us have forgotten.

For the most part, the film is not extremely dramatic or emotional and those who may have felt it would be a tear jerker will be in for a surprise. In fact, the dialogues are so witty, especially Auro's lines, that you find yourself laughing throughout the film. Laughing at dialogues which are funny not because they are jokes, but because they show how a child reacts to normal situations in life, many of which we take for granted. Everything about the way Balki treats the story, Auro's situation and how he approaches the relationship with

his father is simplistic, yet with a fresh perspective hence the world he creates is believable and the characters feel real. Amol Apte's character, enacted by Abhishek Bachchan with such fine ease, may in fact seem to be a bit too simple, but that can also be because the heart of the film is not about politics, although Balki is clearly trying to make a point about both educated youths in parliament as well as media's thirst for a "story", and the fact that Amol is a new age politician is more a part of building his character and understanding his motivations than it is an attempt to try an change how we view politicians. What's even more endearing is that Balki avoids several cliché's that one would have probably expected even though Auro is so different in appearance from his classmates, there is no ragging or bullying and he is liked by all; Auro is not constantly questioning why he is different or sulking at his disease, his mother, Vidya, is not bitter or distraught or melodramatic as a result of being a single mother and the manner in which she handles her 'special' son is just the way any mother would normally treat her child without getting constantly stuck on the fact that her

child has a genetic disorder while the naani (or 'bum' as Auro calls her) is neither too saccharine sweet nor is she cold and manipulative like we witness in most Hindi films. The characters all behave like normal people, with normal reactions in difficult situations coping with life which is exactly what makes the film work. Balki's treatment of each of the relationships in the film is honest and real and with believable characters and brilliant performances, it is difficult to pin down any alarming flaws.
The dialogues as mentioned earlier are a huge asset in a film which is also shot beautifully with songs at exactly the right places, treated freshly and a smooth edit. The use of the "Udi Udi" song to establish the Vidya Amol romance and their eventual conflict is apt for the situation and keeps the flashback swift yet impactful. The performances by all of the leading actors are flawless Amitabh Bachchan has reinvented himself to the extent that for most of the film you forget that Auro has been played by Bachchan such is the manner in which he effortless slips into the role of a young boy. His mannerisms, his voice, his emotions will all leave you in awe and you can actually see that he has had fun playing such a young boy, a fun which comes across in Auro's character on screen. This is by far the best performance in his illustrious career. Abhishek Bachchan is in fine form as the young Amol Arte, a politician representative of today's youth, someone wanting to change the way people view politics so that it is no longer considered a bad word. His chemistry with Mr. Bachchan is so pure and real that the reverse father son relationship seems absolutely natural on screen. Vidya Balan

is perfectly in her element in a role which demands restraint, maturity and an actor who can emote naturally with subtlety and ease. Her expressions, especially her eyes, remind you why she is always a top contender for roles which require an actress with strong screen presence as well as acting prowess; both of which she clearly posses. Paresh Rawal is his dependable self in his brief role while the actress who places Vidya's mother and Auro's 'bum' is perfectly cast and delivers a spot on performance.

Paa is a film meant to be seen with your family; with elderly parents, with your kids, with your spouse. It's a film you will enjoy and will remind you of life's simplicities a film which will make you laugh while also pulling at your heart strings. Paa is an example of the finer films in Hindi cinema with some of the best performances of the year.