One of the most eagerly awaited movies of recent times ‘PAA’ has generated huge interest amongst filmgoers for many reasons – first being the role reversal between Junior AB and BIG B, second being Amitabh Bachchan’s look in the movie and finally the rare and emotional subject around which the film revolves. I am glad that I watched it first day first show: D
There was lot of speculation whether Paa was a copy of Francis Ford Coppola’s Jack (1996) where Robin Williams had a similar aging disorder like Auro. Comparisons were also being drawn to ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ but in the end all the speculation has been put to rest now that the movie has released. Paa is testimony to the fact that a novel idea, if presented in an entertaining manner, makes for an excellent watch. R Balki surely knows the formula for box office success.
The film opens with Jaya Bahchchan rattling off names of the cast and crew. It may be a family thing, Paa being a home production (AB Corp), but it doesn’t really work.The story revolves around a 13 year-old-boy “Auro” played by Amitabh Bachchan, who is inflicted by a rare genetic disease “Progeria”, which causes accelerated ageing. Even though Auro looks 65 years, mentally he is just like any other 13-year old boy. The first hour of PAA grips you in patches. The introduction of Auro is brilliant, but the moment the story focuses on the politician and his arch rival’s sub-plot, it goes a bit off-track. Sure, there are some interesting sequences and a message for the politicians and the media 😀
Vidya Balan plays a single mother who brings up Auro all alone when his biological father Amol (Abhishek Bachchan) suggests abortion. The couple is alienated for years until Amol accidentally meets Auro at his school’s annual function and awards him for his artistic excellence. The rest of the story is about how Auro makes his parents realize their mistake.
BIG B: Auro is the heart, beat, soul, and spice of the film. He wins you over the moment he makes his bouncy entry into the assembly hall to grab a prize for his ‘fluke’ creativity. Amitabh Bachchan who is known for his towering persona and the rich baritone comes up with an exemplary performance as a 13 year old boy. Big B has enthralled us with superlative performances in his four-decade career, but PAA is something else. If you thought that Black was his best performance then PAA will give you Goosebumps. 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.
Junior AB: Abhishek Bachchan puts in a poised performance as a politician and pal-turned-Paa to Auro. He delivers a restrained performance and keeps it simple. The parallel track about his political career could easily have been shortened. Although the effort is to add a ‘highlight’ sequence, where Amol takes on the might of the media, the scenes come across as unconvincing and also make the film longer by 15 min.
VB: Not many actress will have the courage to say ‘yes’ to turn mother on screen for the fear of being typecast. And to play the mother of the megastar Amitabh Bachchan is a big challenge in itself. But she is an actress who is ready to push the boundaries!. Vidya Balan is brilliantly expressive and shares great maternal chemistry with Auro. She plays the role of a mother effortlessly and her depiction of a young mother is commendable. Even though the film’s not called Maa, it easily could be as the story is as much about the mother-son relationship in the first half as it is about the father-son in the second half. For me Paa has to be Vidya’s best performance after Parineeta. She proves yet again that given the right roles, she can match up to the best in the business
Other Cast: The kids in the movie are superb. Pratik Katare enacting the role of Auro’s best buddy Vishnu gets the funniest one-liners. His telephonic conversation with Auro is superb. Arundhati Nag as Auro’s grandmom — he calls her Bums — is a refreshing change from the usual ‘mom’, and the scenes between the nani-pota are very real. Paresh Rawal is effective as a Father politician to Junior AB. One evening, after a meaningful pause, he embarrassingly quizzes, ‘Amol, are you gay?’ The man is priceless. It was good to see him play a role which is different from the usual full-length, blown-out, loud comic acts.
Director: R Balki has done it again – an unusual plot deftly treated, entertaining moments and some real good performances, all come together in his second directorial venture, Paa. In Cheeni Kum, Balki got Amitabh Bachchan to romance a younger woman(Tabu). In Paa, he presents the actor in a role that’s a complete opposite of the mature, control freak character he played in Cheeni Kum. He has tackled a very complex subject and has brought out the beauty of relationships in a very forceful manner without even one relationship in the movie going over the top. Though the movie is centered around Auro and his disorder, Balki manages to draw all relationships to the fore.
He also manages to throw a positive light on sticky issues. Although he gets the point of the over-enthusiastic media, use of condoms, abortion and the political angle in, he does not sound preachy.
Music: Maestro Ilayaraja is the composer of memorable tunes of ‘Paa’ while lyrics are penned by poet-musician Swanand Kirkire. Shilpa Rao, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan and Amitabh Bachchan have given their voices. Amitabh Bachchan turns an incredible crooner for this sweet song ‘Paa’ that can bring tears to your eyes. Music of “Paa” is not conventional and will appeal to music buffs. Most songs will get an edge only with the visuals.
Makeup: Makeup artists don’t get noticed and deserve the credit that they do. It’s a thankless job but it would be unfair if I end this review without mentioning them. This movie would have not been made if it was not for the make up artists. Christien Tinsley and Dominie Till turn a 66-year-old-plus Amitabh to a very believable 13-year-old with their prosthetic make-up. The make up accounts for 10 % of the total cost of the production.
Box Office: PAA has been made in a sensible and reasonable budget [ Rs. 14.75 crores] which should easily be recovered from multiplexes alone. It is a film which should win awards. Won’t be surprised if Auro gets the Best Actor Award
All in all, the movie is about the celebration of relationships. A film that should strike a chord with every paa, maa… just about everyone with a heart! It makes you realize two things. One, Bollywood is very capable of narrating fresh stories. Two, Amitabh Bachchan is truly the most accomplished actor this side of the Atlantic. It is worth spending the bucks on seeing this Auro. Go watch it 🙂
Here is what the celebrities are saying via their Twitter accounts –
Madhur Bhandarkar – Paa is Brilliant. Amitji’s one of the best performance. A 65 year old playing a 13 year old and with such conviction.Amazing,,!
Ritesh Deshmukh: Ab Corp misleads saying Paa stars AMITABH BACHCHAN-one watches the entire film and he is not even seen in one frame.
Ayesha Takia: Just finished watchin PAA…AMAZING……
Karan Johar : Amitabh bachchan is just pure genius!!!paa is all soul….all heart…way to go @juniorbachchan!!! superb!!!!