– Yaser Khan
Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan
Director: Majid Majidi
Majid Majidi is an internationally celebrated Iranian director who is known of his depth with stories from within our communities and especially the underprivileged. His film ‘Children Of Heaven’ had also been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. He’s ventured into the Indian film industry this year with his most anticipated ‘Beyond The Clouds’ which marks the debut of Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan Khatter and Bollywood debut of Malavika Mohanan.
Story: The film revolves around the lives of siblings Amir (played by Ishaan Khatter) and Tara (played by Malavika Mohanan), who come from the lower class of our society in the city of Mumbai. Amir deals his adulthood by getting himself into the illegal drugs business where he risks his life to pimps and peddlers. After Tara gets out of her troubled marriage, she chooses the wrong path to live a comfortable life. In the quest of fighting each other off, they find togetherness when Amir tries to save Tara from being imprisoned for attempting to murder her molester. The plot thickens when the molester’s family moves in to survive in the city with Amir at Tara’s home. Meanwhile Tara hypothetically adopts the child of her sickened cell mate. Can Amir rescue his sister Tara and get her justice? Will their lives improve in any way?
Ishaan Khatter makes a promising debut with his character of Amir. He’s vulnerable yet confident and has the spark to achieve greater heights. He’s every teenager of Mumbai who with a dream to make it big but can take a detour into the world of crime. The ruthless yet emotional layers in his character are commendable.
Malavika Mohanan does a decent job as Tara, but unfortunately for adamant Bollywood followers and lovers she might remind them a tad bit of the role’s first choice Deepika Padukone. Her acting and voice, makes you feel as if she really was a replacement of the Superstar. Keeping that aside, she somehow gets overshadowed by Ishaan’s ‘almost flawless’ performance.
The girls casted as Asha and Tanisha are adorable with their innocence and so is the kid in the prison. The kids bring a soothing emotional aspect to the gruesome adult characters and that’s worth cherishing.
Tannishtha Chatterjee could have offered so much more given her character was written better, she’s wasted here. The supporting cast like Filmmaker-actor Gautam Ghose, Heeba Shah and Sharada do justice to their parts.
Music and Dialogues: The movie’s theme is undoubtedly a beautiful composition. A.R. Rahman’s score for Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds is extraordinary but not as special as his Oscar worthy music for Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The songs aren’t really catchy which are promotional and don’t make it to the film. Vishal Bharadwaj has written the dialogues and it has the flavor of Mumbaiya accent, but you’ll also wish the Tamil dialogues had Hindi and English subtitles which is missing but you somehow get what the characters are trying to convey.
Direction: Majid Majidi is a cinematic genius and each frame oaths to his prowess. The realism reflects with actual locations and cinematography that shows us the places we witness everyday but with a new vision. The Dhobi ghats, the prison, the government hospital and the Thane creek filled with flamingos every location perfectly captured without making it look dark like that in Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ where poor was shown poorer. Unfortunately, such brilliance meets the fate of disappointment due to loopholes in the screenplay and the need for better editing. The audiences may tend to ask some valid questions like, how could Tara expect an 11 year old to help her end an abusive marriage? Why does Amir never try to find out how much the bail would cost or use the money he earned to get one? Apart from their sentiment regarding their mother, the Rakshabandhan vibe seems missing. The first half is action driven and fast paced while the second half plays on the emotional aspect and feels a little stretched where you feel the story is going no where, even the climax occurs abruptly. Maybe the hype around the film was so strong that you’re not ready to forgive even the slightest shortcomings as a cinema lover.
Cinespeaks Verdict: Watch the film for amazing performances from Ishaan Khatter and the supporting cast. If emotional content gives you a high, then this film is for you, otherwise you can give it a miss (and we’re saying this with a heavy heart as Majid Majidi fans). Cinespeaks gives ‘Beyond The Clouds’ 2.5 out of 5 Stars.