- 2h 13min
A father tries to help his son cope with a rare condition that causes the young boy to age beyond his years.A father tries to help his son cope with a rare condition that causes the young boy to age beyond his years.A father tries to help his son cope with a rare condition that causes the young boy to age beyond his years.
The film also uses the personality, and not the acting, of Abhishek Bachchan to create a gen-next politician, and we connect. It uses Vidya Balan to portray a strong, independent, modern Indian woman, and most importantly – a mother; and we connect. And it utilizes the human curiosity for the weird, our tendency to look at 'freaks' with wide eyes and held breaths, and converts that 'freak' into a warm, lovable and memorable character called Auro, and takes us into his world. It uses songs, melodrama and the Bollywood cliché to tell a story. It relies on the time-tested formula of emotional manipulation and succeeds in making the audience cry. It has decent production values, is marketed smartly and sold at cheap rates. The result is not a great, timeless, flawless piece of art. The result is a film that knows how to use the illusion of the medium. The result is a movie that moves.
The best thing about Paa is that it knows what it is doing. It does not claim to be 'socially relevant', and does not ask us to leave our brains home before coming to the theatres. Instead it asks us to bring our brains, our hearts, our entire selves, not excluding the 'curiosity for the weird' that we all have but fail to accept. It treats itself as a film for everyone, and successfully creates an entertaining cinema experience. In its attempt, it often gets inconsistent, but it never seems uncertain. It is an innovation, and yes, that it is, which is sure of itself, including how to sell itself. It is an innovation that does not go wasted, and that is indeed an achievement in the Hindi film scenario of today.
It has been a few decades now and Hindi cinema is desperately in the need for revival. For that to happen, if it ever happens, we need socially relevant cinema, we need cinema as works of art, we even need cinema with an international appeal, and with the guts to experiment . But what we need most is innovative ideas, true to Hindi cinema sensibility and tradition, not necessarily great in the absolute cinema-sense, but films which make people come, watch and connect. We need more films like Paa. I have no idea about how it is going to fare at the box-office. If it is a commercial success, my point would be proved beyond doubt. If it fails, well, I will try my best not to lose hope.
- Dec 4, 2009