A rare film about a rare child…
How do you define a good film? For me, it is the way the film involves you, engages you and impacts you; if it is a comedy, does it make you laugh non-stop or if it is an emotional film, does it move you? Rarely a film completely lives up to the promise made through its promotion / publicity machinery. Paa lives up to the promise but with a slight difference; it was promoted as a very rare father-son / son-father story but what shines through is the relationship between Auro, a 12-year old child suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Progeria and his mother, Vidya. You connect with Auro, the moment he makes his first appearance and from that point onwards you laugh with him and cry for him.
Amitabh Bachchan is re-discovered in this film as Auro, not only because he has acted extremely well but also because you do not notice him in the film. There is no Amitabh Bachchan in the film but only Auro, who is a happy child despite his medical condition because of which his body has aged to that of an 80-year old. His mother, Vidya (played superbly by Vidya Balan) is extremely proud of her son and is not embarrassed or adversely affected by his situation; in fact she calls him ‘lucky’ in one scene. Abhishek Bachchan as Amol Arte, a young conscientious politician, delivers an extremely confident and restrained performance. His scenes with his son, Auro as well as his father (played by Paresh Rawal) are excellent. Performance wise, the film belongs to Auro and another actor who is a real surprise package – Arundhati Nag, who plays ‘Bum’, Auro’s maternal grand-mother and friend. She has an extremely strong character and proves that screen time has nothing to do with the impact made.
Despite the serious subject matter, writer-director, R. Balki (Cheeni Kum) has given the film a very light feel without losing the grip on the emotions. However, there is too much focus on Abhishek Bachchan’s political endeavours that move away from the main plot. Ilaiyaraja’s music is outstanding and completely involves you with what is happening on screen, especially the violin theme. ‘Halke Se Bole’ and ‘Hichki Hichki’ are two wonderful numbers in the film and credit also goes to the lyricist, Swanand Kirkire. Talking about the technicians, I cannot miss out the prosthetic make-up team that helped bring the character of Auro to screen as well as the brilliant cinematography by P. C. Sriram.
After Taare Zameen Par, Paa is a film that manages to connect the audience so well with the protagonist. In a nutshell, it is a beautiful film that deserves to be watched.
My Rating: * * * * Four stars (on five)
– Shrey Khetarpal