July 06, 2020
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Paa

The film moves you in parts but stops short of being an overwhelmingly stirring experience. There are some jarring and tackily-handled scenes.

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Paa
Paa
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Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vidya Balan, Arundhati Nag, Paresh Rawal
Directed by R. BALKI
Rating: **

There are some delightful elements in Paa. Like a little school girl’s fixation with Auro, the child afflicted with progeria (Big B, boosting his much-celebrated performative skills with pain-stakingly-put-together prosthetics), and Auro’s own amusing uneasiness with her. Then there’s Auro’s best friend Vishnu who has some pert issues to sort out with his dad and says rather philosophically: “Do mard ek ghar mein saath nahin rah sakte.” The best thing about Paa are these kids—empathetic, warm and funny in an unassuming way. They bag the best scenes and the best lines. Also heart-warming is the affectionate relationship Auro shares with his single mom (Vidya Balan, back to looking good and acting well) and grandmom “Bum” (Arundhati Nag, wonderful with her sheer screen presence) and his growing bonding with his estranged dad (Abhishek, earnest and sincere). Wish there was more of it. Unfortunately, the individual moments in Paa don’t get knit together very well as a whole. The film moves you in parts but stops short of being an overwhelmingly stirring experience. The first half gets particularly scattered. The narrative flounders as you wonder what it is about—is it to do with a couple disagreeing on whether to have or not have a kid, is it about a politician learning his first lessons in being crafty or is it about a single mom bringing up a child on her own?

The film is largely gently paced yet there are some jarring and tackily-handled scenes. The critique of the media (a common practice in every Bollywood film these days) is way too infantile. So is the scene where doc Vidya pontificates about the necessity for a woman to have kids or be riddled with ‘hormonal issues’ and ‘fibroids’. Such medical conditions can’t just be talked of so summarily.

However, my problem in the film is progeria itself. Paa has been in the media eye for focusing on the disease but it is hardly central to the film. It’s essentially the tale of a severely-ill child who brings his separated parents back together. He could have been suffering from any debility. Rather than a necessity, progeria becomes a novelty, one which makes it possible for Big B to play his real life son’s son.


High Fives

Bollywood

1. De Dana Dan
2. Paa
3. 2012 (dubbed)
4. Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani
5. Tum Mile

Hollywood

1. The Blind Side
2. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
3. Brothers
4. A Christmas Carol
5. Old Days

Jazz Albums

1. Crazy Love (Michael Buble)
2. Making Merry (Various Artists)
3. Your Songs (Harry Connick Jr)
4. Letters to Santa: (Various Artists)
5. Love is the Answer (Barbara Streisand)

Courtesy: Film Information

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