Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paa - where even the skeptic in me goes, "Wow."

I had a lot of prejudice regarding Paa, for a lot of the obvious reasons. Amitabh Bachchan's acting skills are so praised that there seem to be no new height for things to be said about them to be reached. If everything he does is the best thing ever (aside from Aag) according to people then nothing he does is the best because there's nowhere for him to go. So there was a real sense of people appreciating him because he was taking this leap and because he was AB, not because
the performance was actually worth praising.

And of course, the gimmick of a father playing a son to his own son, and portraying a child with a genetic defect that allows some believability to that, it all just seemed like too much. I was really uncertain whether this movie was a victim of overhype, whether I'd find anything likable in it, just whether it'd work.

And then I saw it.

And it worked. It really worked.

Ramsu's review convinced me to put aside my prejudice and give this film a try, and I am so glad I did. It's been a while since I've been this affected by a movie. I was just so broken by every emotional cue the film gave me, constantly getting misty-eyed, and utterly in pieces during the final scenes. It was kind of ridiculous, but I also loved it. Sometimes a tear-jerker is just what I needed, and because bullshit family drama ala K3G does nothing to my tear-ducts, films like Paa are in high demand.

Vidya Balan broke me the most. There's just something so believable and captivating about her performance. She simply excels at playing these sort of very grounded characters, and of course she looked absolutely amazing. Abhishek wasn't far behind, though.

And then there's Amitabh. I could critisize certain visual aspects of Auro that don't necessarily make for the most realistic portrayal of somebody with Progeria, and the fact a tall man is tough to shrink down in size. And I could also talk about how the character has a bit of "noble sick person" syndrome happening. But you know what? I don't really care. I just bought it, and that's the chief victory of this performance.

The cinematography and editing were top notch, and even if there was a somewhat unnecessary side plot, it's safe to say I really enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster ride of Paa. Sometimes I guess I should believe the hype.


ajnabi said...

I am surprised--nay, *shocked,* to read this! If you liked it, I'm just going to add it to my queue, because certainly it's worth a rental at least.

sonia_bonjour said...

Agree - originally I didn't plan to watch this movie. ('cause I'm really tired of the Bachchan family) But I'm glad that I did watch it afterall.

At least it's fresh to see Big B doing a very non-BigBish role. And I actually like Abhishek's performance. (given how much I don't like a lot of his performances)

Vidy Balan is the best of course! :) So glad that she made a great come back with Paa.

Anishok said...

Paa is one of those movies that could have gone very wrong. I thought, that it was a recipe for disaster before watching it.
But you're totally right - it just inexplicably works!

Anonymous said...

If the unnecessary sideplot you are referring to is the prying media and politics angle, I have to say that that was one of my favorite parts of the movie. (Maybe because I love politics?) I don't know, but I could identify with JrAB's character. I thought the hero of the movie was actually Abhishek. Like you, I wasn't expecting much, but I felt emotionally exhausted after watching it, even though I knew how it would end (there's only one for this movie *to end*.)

Filmi Girl said...

I'm jumping on the Ajnabi bandwagon - if you liked it, that's enough reason for me to give it a try. :)

Pessimisissimo said...

Let me add my voice to the chorus. I couldn't believe how affecting Amitabh's performance was (even though I, like you and seemingly everyone else, was initially pretty skeptical). That a man approaching his 70th birthday could convincingly portray a 13-year-old boy was truly astonishing. Abhishek and especially Vidya (as you're right to point out) did excellent work, too.

Louella said...

LOL, I share the same feelings as you!
I was expecting sth hyped, a typical Bachchan's stuff, and I was baffled.
I've seen it beacuse I wanted to know if they really deserved all that awards :P The final effect - adding it to a most wonderful movies I've ever seen.
Wonder if not buy at some ebay a dvd - Big B is coming to my city for a special screening and having an autographed dvd would be great x.x

veracious said...

ajnabi - I am flattered you'd place so much value on my opinion. Ha! Now I sort of want to pedal back a little, as of course my strong emotional reaction was in part mood as any emotional reaction is. But still, the movie works. It's stunning but true.

Sonia - Yeah, Vidya is amazing here. And her romance with Abhishek, even though not the point of the movie, was lovely .. it's just an all around good effort.

Anishok - I couldn't believe the Bollyceleb tweets about it being so amazing. I was like, "They're just saying because they all love Big B." but whaddya know, it's an actually good film! :)

Anon - You know, I didn't hate that plot strand. It took away from the main one a little, and I didn't see how it connected to Auro's story all that much but it wasn't bad. I agree about emotional exhaustion.. after I finished watching I went to meet a friend and had to explain, if anything seemed different about me, it was this damned movie that had affected me so much.

FG - I hope you guys end up liking it. If not, well.. Don't blame me! :D

Pessimissimo - There's a lot of things I could critisize regarding the make-up and all those effects but I don't have the heart to, because despite those, the film works and that's a huge thing.

Louella - Yay, glad I wasn't the only one. I'm also considering buying the DVD.. Hope you get to meet Big B! :)

Joanna said...

This is most surely a film that got to me. The famous last words before succumbing to the disease, Maa and Paa, the way everything was made up, even how Auro was portrayed as, the soundtrack - it all got to me. I strongly recommend it to everyone, because it's an amazing movie.

veracious said...

I wasn't overly fond of the soundtrack but the first song that is so brilliantly edited to portray the initial relationship of Maa & Paa is a REALLY good song.

And totally agree about the last words. Oh gosh, just thinking about those final scenes make me overly emotional. Strange, wonderful film..

Filmbuff said...

I am glad you liked this film and have also written a truly good review. I too was sceptical about the make up and look of AB before. However when I actually saw the movie, i forgot that it is AB and was engrossed in Auro's story. That to me is the true success of AB's acting. Not even once do you get a glimpse of AB the mega super star. Vidhya Balan and the lady who acted as her mother have done a fine job. I am glad that Vidya got the Best Actress award for this movie (both Screen and Filmfare awards). Abhishek was not only handsome but acted very well too.