Friday, January 15, 2010

Paa - Review

If you remember, the promos of Paa had featured the progeria afflicted character of Auro, played by Amitabh Bachhan. Clearly, even the film-makers believed that the singularity of Auro was the selling point of the movie. Then why, in heaven's name, was the movie titled Paa?? Even a generous consideration of the movie's plot wouldn't justify this title. There isn't Paa anywhere in the movie but only Maa and Auro.

The story revolves around Auro who is suffering with a rare genetic disorder called progeria. The body of a progeria afflicted child ages very rapidly and hence has a very short life-span of around 13 or 14 years. Auro and his single mother, played by Vidya Balan, have, apparently, reconciled with this fact and are living peacefully till the day when a fortuitous encounter brings Amol Arte, a politician played by Abhishek Bachhan, in the lives of the mother and son. Long forgotten memories spring back to life and the lives of the three unwittingly get more and more drawn towards each other.

The most notable performance comes from Maa. In a movie where the title alludes to a strong patriarchal role, Vidya manages to lift her character and brings it to life beautifully. She grabs every little opportunity provided by the script and makes the most of it even when she has to cradle a legend like Big B in her arms. Abhishek Bachhan leaves a lot to be desired. His being the central character seemed incidental to the movie and on occasions his absence actually benefits the script. Abhishek sleep-walks the entire movie and couples that with some cheesy dialogues to make the performance supremely forgettable and unreal. Paa is to blame himself to push his character to the peripheral gloom of the movie. Amitabh Bachhan performs as per the script, but then that is not what is expected from a legend. Here, R Balki should take part of the blame. Balki sketches a frustratingly unreal character of Auro. Given this irritating challenge, Amitabh Bachhan rises to the occasion to make some sense of Auro's character. It occurs as if Balki has a completely misplaced notion of what a childhood is like. Most of the child characters shown in the movie are unnaturally mature beyond their age. Where you expected a child's innocence you find sometimes crisp and sometimes just outrageous dialogues. Same was the case in Cheeni Kum. There you had a child who preferred being called as 'Sexy', expressly wished to watch adult movies, for whatever reasons, and on top of that had worldly wise view of life even before hitting her teens! Here, too, Auro seems just too mature for his age and needs no confirmation in this since he is shown to be smart enough to engineer a truce between his estranged parents.

This movie may either entertain you or simply annoy you. It may even thoroughly disappoint you. With such a brilliant concept - bearing an uncanny semblance to that of a movie featuring Brad Pitt, the movie had the potential to achieve the glory of Taare Zameen Pe. The potential ingredients were there but sadly no tight script. The script loses its grip in too many places to be ignored. Going by the purported theme of the movie, the script comes up with multiple sub-plots far removed from the main theme. The film wanders into political rivalry only to jump out abruptly and not before delivering a tirade against the media on ethics. Unnecessary and amateurish, the scene makes the character of Amol Arte even more unreal. The script puts both father and son in a unique role-reversal, but attempts to weave some magic moments between Amitabh as son and Abhishek as father are wasted in some silly scenes like the one where Auro sits on the hand of Amol or where Auro gives potty lectures to Amol. The only convincing performance came from the mother-son duo and may be it would have been a lot better to have the trials and tribulations of a single mother and a progeria afflicted child as the central theme. At least, that would have reduced scope for making complaints.