Review - Paa: stirs the funny-mature kid in us

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

A film that invokes thoughts on varying subjects from single parenthood, rare diseases to politics. And it does so successfully. As if that weren't enough it is all put together in a relatively unusual plot and has one superb performance by Amitabh Bachchan which overshadows brilliant performances by the rest of the cast too.

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Wogma Review

When I start writing my opinion of a film, I usually close my eyes looking for that one thought that is a wholesome description of the film. In most cases, where an actor's name does the deal, the film doesn't have a substantial plot. It would fall apart if that actor was not playing the said character. This doesn't hold true for Paa. The first thought and the last one are Amitabh Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan only. But what comes in between is extremely valuable to the audience's experience and to the core of the film. Sure, there are many aspects pertaining to the challenges a single parent faces while managing a child with a rare disease. But, there are enough nuances touched upon to make the viewing worthwhile. That is, if such a performance is not gratifying enough.

My apprehension before the film was that the entire do will become about Amitabh Bachchan, the star or the real life father-son relationship or equally worse, a combination of both. I'm so glad my apprehensions were absolutely uncalled for. You realize Auro is Amitabh Bachchan only when you make yourself think about it. Else you wouldn't even realize its him. Of course, a lot of that is due to the make-up artiste. Any talk of the film without a salute to the make-up person and the costume designer would be a complete disregard for these art forms. And yet, none of them would have been enough if it wasn't for the stooped shoulder, the expressive eyes, the quivering lips, and so on.

Now, before this piece becomes an essay on the Big B, let's move on to the other aspects of the film. You but cannot refrain from nodding your head in approval at the portrayal of politics even if it is mostly over-idealistic. Amitabh's performance along with Vidya Balan's elegant composure completely overshadows Abhishek Bachchan's depiction of the young, dynamic politician we so badly need.

And despite dealing with such heavy topics as these, the entire film has a very light tone, right to the end. Every time the going gets a little serious, little Auro, has something hilariously spontaneous to say - just like children always do.

Then there are these things which are over-simplified. Like the overall compassion with which people from all ages and backgrounds treat an abnormal child. Also, the social acceptance of an illegitimate child and his mother was a tad too uneasy to digest. It is obvious that these issues were intentionally left out of the equation to help focus on the characters and their relationships. But these issues are conspicuous by their absence.

Similarly, the whole comment on parents' complete disregard to anything creative as a source of living was in bad taste. A wee bit exaggerated it was, in order to get those extra laughs. Also, the maturity that 12-13 year olds show seems a bit beyond their age. The climax too seems a little too melodramatic compared to the tone of the rest of the film.

Usually, films that deal with topics as varied as politics and rare genetic conditions leave you with a feeling that it should have been 2 different films, but this one blended the two together very well. Or they are interesting enough that you don't mind seeing them at one go. It was almost as if these are the two burning issues R. Balki wanted to talk about and he had only one film to do it in. At the very least, Paa documents the state of media and current affairs of the country in the naughts.

For the longest time now, I've been waiting for an Amitabh film that I really enjoyed. Finally, it's here. I wouldn't want to adjoin any more superlatives to his performance and the challenges he must have faced in getting it all right, I would want you to go and find out for yourself. Yes, you there…go get those tickets for you and your family!

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Mostly clean. There is an explicit usage of the word "bastard" and what it means. Also there's a fair amount of "potty" talk that children have in their regular conversations these days.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A rare genetic disorder, single parenthood, child out of marriage, and the game of politics - all bound into one.
  • General Look and Feel: Its peppy, chirpy and perky.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 4
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 4.5
  • Screenplay: 4
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 3.5

Paa - Movie Details

Paa - Trailer

Comments (10)

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meetu:

Hi Rahul,
With performances like these, you just want people to go and watch instead of looking for the right words.

The media bashing was one of THE most enticing pieces of Amol Arte's character. I completely enjoyed it and found it perfectly justifiable.

A friend of mine said that IndiaTV recently had a show with 2 people suffering from pregaria. They were being asked "So, how do you feel about your disorder?"

Shuchi:

Hi Meetu, I'd shared your apprehensions about this being an AB-family-fest. Your review makes me want to give the film a chance. I'm glad actors and film-makers are trying out new and challenging stuff.

The flaws you mention - unnaturally precocious kids and a melodramatic climax - seem to be Balki's trademark. I thought the same about his last outing Cheeni Kum.

Arundhati Nag is a terrific theatre artist; that she plays a role in the movie comes as a pleasant surprise.

Sunit Khot:

Hi Meetu.

Read your review after I saw the movie. In fact saw your site after a long time. I am glad it has evolved a lot since those earlier days.

Agree with you in large parts about the movie. Have some opinions on the same though. They are here: http://sunitkhot.blogspot.com/2009/12/adman-makes-movie.html

Check it out if you have the time. Would love to know what you thought.

Great to be back. Cheers!

Sunit

meetu:

@sunit khot will certainly take a lookt at your blog post. And welcome back!!

@Vishal i haven't a clue why the media is getting offended?

@kk thank you ji! True...which is what i felt while watching Tare Zameen Par too. The contradictory climax seemed very forgivable after the brilliant first half. Here the entire movie had the same tone and seemed a little too good to be true.

Anyway, as long as it generates sensitivity to the issue in real life, mission accomplished!

Shaheen:

I so want to watch this movie. I tried getting ticket for last Saturday, but they were all sold out! Happy to discover your movie review blog.

meetu:

Adam, I'm sorry. You are right, I missed out on pointing these things out.

Sincere apologies if your girls were terrorized. Hope they were sensitized to the issues that a child their age faces.

I took my 7 and 5 year olds for the film. Thankfully, they were alright.

Will take utmost care that this doesn't happen again.

ritesh:

movie maker is an ad film maker..however, movie making is a different business altogether

http://ooh-se-aaha-tak.blogspot.com/

Hindi DVDs Online:

I agree with te most part of it. But the story is thin. It looks like the director woven the story around a few simple lines such as 'child is the father of man'. The political part of the movie looks even more childish with some 'an eye for an eye' sort of absurd revenge of medieval times. If thats what you call dynamic leadership that this country needs, it results in never ending street fights all over India. Its simply not politics. Its some sort of attention seeking overactivity. Children in the movie are much smarter than adults!

Apart from such glitches, the film fares well in technical departments and Amitabh did a great job as an actor without being Amitabh.

The movie is a let down for the hype that it generated. It could have been a great movie, given the kind of people worked for it.

meetu:

@F.W every once in a while i do preview posts which invariably have trailers. But, you are right, I actually can put up trailers at the end of the post.

TrailerBid:

Paa...an Excellent Movie...

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