R Balki’s Paa charts its story around a rare genetic disorder called Progeria. The disease leads to accelerated ageing, making a 12 year old look 60 plus and eventually causing death. This could have been just another film. However, what makes Paa stand-out, is the cast – Amitabh
Bachchan playing a 12 year old Progeria victim, and Abhishek Bachchan playing his screen father – a total role reversal.
Abhishek Bachchan, studying political science in UK falls in love with Vidya Balan, a medical student. In the course of their romance, Vidya gets pregnant. But ambitious Abhishek does not want to shoulder family responsibilities. A disheartened Vidya gives birth to the illegitimate child, Auro, who, to add to her woes, is suffering from Progeria. Auro comes face to face with his father, Abhishek Bachchan, for the first time while in school, where he (his father), now a member of the parliament, visits to assess talented children.
The growing bond between the two and Auro’s equation with mother Vidya Balan and grandmother Arundhati Naag is what makes the film interesting. There is a total naturalness about their bonding and the way Balki has handled it.
R Balki’s direction is marvellous; he has a total grasp of the subject and has chosen to treat it in a lighter vein thereby making this a happy viewing. He also drops a few general knowledge gems in the process. Only place he goes a little overboard is with the media angle vis-a-vis politicians.
Amitabh Bachchan has come a long way from his angry young man persona to playing Auro. He is just amazing! He has enacted his role with such ease one can not easily guess the hardship that may have gone behind it. Abhishek Bachchan gives one of his best performances. Vidya Balan is excellent. Arundhati Naag is a natural. Paresh Rawal is as usual good.
Illyaraja’s musical score is refreshing. Auro’s signature tune gives it instant recognition. Amitabh Bachchan’s make up is the parallel hero of the film. Dialogue is crisp, natural and witty, contributing a great deal towards endearing Auro to the audience. Cinematography is good. The end is sufficiently justified and measurably emotional sans melodrama.
Paa has opened on a weak note but the word of mouth publicity should help the film to pick up in the coming days.