This year Bollywood saw more comedy, action, thriller and few romantic movies hitting the theaters. “Paa” comes as a refresher and path breaker from all these stereotype films. “Paa” is a movie that showcases the sensitivities of the relationship between a father and a mentally retarded son.
“Paa” also presents the best of acting skills from all the three actors Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan. All the three actors have portrayed their respective characters well. Especially Big B has delivered his life time best performance as a 13 year old progeria patient.
Paa is a completely different story:
Aspiring politician Amol (Abhishek Bachchan) and medical student Vidya (Vidya Balan) have a child out of wedlock. Not wanting to hamper his political future, Amol asks Vidya to abort the baby. Vidya however breaks all ties with Amol and gives birth to Auro – a progeria patient whose physical appearance looks five times older than his mental age.
Years later, Auro and Amol come face-to-face and develop an instant rapport. Now Amol’s past threatens to destroy his dream run in politics. Meanwhile Vidya is caught between her hatred for Amol and Auro’s journey towards discovering his long lost father. As a plot, Paa is inherently Bollywood with subtle influences of Shekhar Kapoor’s Masoom, Mahesh Bhatt’s Kaash and Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par. But what works for this film are the impressive performances and director R Balakrishnan’s treatment. Balki doesn’t go for an excessively melodramatic approach keeping the flow lighthearted. While this robs off some depth and your heart doesn’t go all out for the characters, there are several other highs. The flow is rather charming and funny.
Save for a slightly filmy climax, the makers avoid melodramatic high-voltage sequences. Having a father-son bond over webchat is certainly a refreshing break from the stereotype. The only downer is a long sub-plot depicting Ahishek’s political ambition. Modelled on India’s young breed of newly elected suave MPs, it adds nothing to the movie’s core theme. Scenes about slum rehab and media bashing would have been better suited for the Sarkar franchise.
Much like his Cheeni Kum, Paa too is laced with witty one liners. Ad-man Balki clearly has his own style and grammar that oozes attitude and sarcasm. Balki is a rare filmmaker who doesn’t depict Bollywood children as artificially innocent dimwits. If you remember the young girl from Cheeni Kum, this time too he shows the kids as sometimes rude but smart, outspoken, brats. In an author-backed role, Amitabh Bachchan masters the body language and behaviour of a special child. Auro is high on self-confidence and his disorder is not projected with a sense of pity.
Though his new look takes a while to sink in, the dialogue delivery has the trademark energy of an Amitabh Bachchan act. His individual sequences with Abhishek and Vidya have a bitter-sweet tone that’s picked up brilliantly by the legend. Vidya Balan’s part is a bit sketchy, as both her love and anger towards Amol are never quite clear. But she has a natural comfort with deglam mature roles and excels beyond the script. Abhishek Bachchan throws in a confident performance as Auro’s Paa. Playing a character that could have easily been sidelined and one that has no sympathy value attached to it, Bachchan Jr rises to the challenge. The scene where he finds out Auro’s true identity is one of his best in a long time.
Don’t miss the innovative opening titles, which set the pace for the film’s straight-out-of-life narrative. Paa might fall short of greatness but has a positive, feel good graph that stays with you for long. Verdict: Far from being boring or heavy on the senses, this is a simple film for the entire family. Take your Maa and Paa along and you wont regret it.