Movie Review: Paa (2009)

Users Rating: [ratings] ★★★☆☆
Box Office: Hit


To be or not to be Amitabh Bachchan? Years after having every bit of Bachchan being broadcast in biographies and beyond, it makes more sense to not be Amitabh Bachchan and still deliver bigtime. Director R. Balki does exactly that. He takes away everything from brand Bachchan from his persona, baritone, height to mannerisms and presents him in an absolutely another aura as Auro.

Paa is certainly not inspired from Francis Ford Coppola’s Jack (1996) where Robin Williams had a similar aging disorder like Auro. If you have to, you can find remote references in films back home like Dard Ka Rishta (1982), Kaash (1987) or more recently Heyy Babby (2007) where a child is instrumental in getting his estranged parents together.

Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is a 13 year old child with a rare illness called Progeria, where one ages rapidly. When we first see Auro he sounds like any other teenager but he does not look like one. Auro lives with his mother Vidhya (Vidya Balan) who herself is in the medical profession. This is a single-parent family as the father is not present. Auro does have friends but the one person he confides in most is his grandmother, Bum.

There is an empty space in Auro’s life and that is of a father figure. Because of this, he begins to search for his missing parent and subsequently finds him. Amol (Abhishek Bachchan) is a budding politician with a fruitful career in government beckoning. His life turns upside down when he meets his child. Amol and Auro (father and son) then begin a journey of self discovery where many questions are raised and ultimately answered.

Director R. Balki deserves a salute for thinking out of the box and also presenting Amitabh Bachchan like never before. The writing may be erratic, but his handling of the emotional moments is exemplary. Note this, he would be a force to reckon with after PAA. Ilaiyaraaja’s music is soothing. P.C. Sreeram’s cinematography is incredible. It would be a blunder if one missed out the contribution of the makeup artists.Transforming the veteran actor into a kid must’ve been an arduous task and Christien Tinsley and Domini Till deserve to be complimented for making Auro look so real.

Without a doubt Amitabh Bachchan deserves all the awards and accolades for his portrayal of Auro. With a new voice, face and body language here is one character of Big B which will undoubtedly stand out in his filmography for being delightfully different and charmingly childish. Vidya Balan is brilliantly expressive and shares great maternal chemistry with Auro. Abhishek Bachchan puts in a poised performance as a politician and pal-turned-Paa to Auro.

On the whole, PAA is an amazing experience. It makes you realize two things. One, the Hindi film industry is also capable of narrating fresh stories. Two, Amitabh Bachchan is truly the most accomplished actor this side of the Atlantic. Here’s a film that should win awards [for Auro] and also box-office rewards, given its low costs. A film that should strike a chord with every paa, maa… just about everyone with a heart!

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