Paa - External Reviews
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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51 reviewers have given Paa an average rating of 4.4/5.0 (?)
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Thumbs up by Minty Tejpal, Mumbai Mirror ...When you see your favourite actor ever wearing a large oversized head with bulging veins, looking almost alien and unrecognisable, you wonder, especially considering some of the recent costume dramas Amitabh Bachchan has been in. Well, Paa turns out to be an absolutely delightful film, chiefly due to the endearing 12-year-old character masterfully played by the 67-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, as also because of the sharp, deft tone director Balki maintains throughout. As a film Paa is smartly designed to tug at your weepy glands, which it does unabashedly, but without ever resorting to unnecessary hysterics or clichéd melodrama. So you may well cry, but will also certainly enjoy, for the dialogue stays sharp and witty, the entire cast is in top form, and the tone of the film is light and teasing. Paa promises to be a different experience, and that starts right at the beginning, when all the credits are read out on screen by a seated, smiling, sari-clad Jaya Bachchan, a refreshing departure. Then follows a simple story, but well told. Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan meet and become lovers during their college years in London. When Vidya gets pregnant, Abhishek, a politician’s son being groomed to inherit the family business, is hesitant to be a father. So they break up, and Vidya disappears to Lucknow. Supported by her strong single mother (Arundhati Nag) she decides to bring up her child, who has been diagnosed with progeria, a premature aging disease. Twelve years later the child becomes Auro (Amitabh Bachchan), a large bald school kid with a nasal voice, crooked teeth and gangly gait. One day he meets his father, now a well-known MP, and an unusual friendship develops between them, though both are unaware of their relationship until interval. Then the father-son trot off on a trip to Delhi, until Abhishek realises Auro is his own son. From there on the film is about awkward Auro getting his estranged parents together, even as his own life ebbs out. Except for the entire slum redevelopment and media bashing angle, which jarred and seemed out of place, the rest of Paa works like magic. Amitabh Bachchan is almost unrecognisable as Auro, which would surely have been a big gamble. Get the most famous face in India and cover him in a large shower cap which looks like an upturned pregnant belly. Yet it pays off big time. Amitabh plays Auro as a sharp, pesky fellow, who loves video games, is conscious of his ‘image’ and shy of girls. As a child he has the right to use words like potty and bum, which he abuses to the hilt. Finally, Auro has a special delightful gawky dance, reminiscent of a lanky Amitabh from his younger days, which the kids of today and yesterday are sure to love. Abhishek is refreshing and restrained as the suave honest politician, while Vidya Balan again shows the immense promise of Parineeta, which she seemed to have lost in her last few forgettable films. Vidya delivers a strong, graceful performance as a single mother, ably supported by Arundhati Nag. Special mention must be made of the entire school cast, who were all natural and endearing, especially Vishnu, who is just delightful as Auro’s best friend. Reflecting his vast advertising background which deals in 60 second spots, Balki pays minute attention to each specific frame, and it shows in the sharp production design and cinematography. But finally, Paa rightfully belongs to Big B, who in an award-winning performance, makes it all look like child’s play once again. Go watch it quickly, and please, also take your ma to Paa. ... full review
So-So by Debojit Ghatak, Indian Auteur ...he has taken the conventional suave Reid & Taylor borne image of Amitabh Bachchan and completely destructed it to create a character so far removed from where we started with, that it exceeds the achievement of the rather run-of-the-mill film it is placed inside... full review