Beyond The Clouds movie cast: Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan, G V Sharada, Gautam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Beyond The Clouds movie director: Majid Majidi
Beyond The Clouds movie rating: Two stars
Slum kids in Mumbai. Trying to hack a life. Battling heavy odds. Drugs. Vice. Prostitution. Loyalty. Betrayal. Love. Majid Majidi’s foray into Indian cinema dusts off these themes, tried-tested-tired with use from such films as Salaam Bombay and Slumdog Millionaire, from Nayakan to Parinda, and everything in between, and creates a been-here-seen-most-of-this re-tread.
Majidi, well-known Iranian director, has made such life-like, life-affirming films as Children Of Heaven and The Song Of Sparrow. His skills with getting children to appear natural is charmingly in evidence in Beyond The Clouds: the only parts of the film which feel fresh have these child actors flitting about; the rest is dispiritingly same-old.
Ishaan Khatter plays the street-smart drug mule Aamir, crisscrossing Mumbai on his pal’s bike, living dangerously on the edge while trying to rescue his sister, the duskily attractive Tara (Mohanan) from a life behind bars. The bright-eyed Khatter has something, a flicker in his eyes, and gets some zest into his part. Mohanan is great on the eyes, but clueless in how to fill her part.
Majidi spends a great deal of his time clocking documented-a-million-times-over Mumbai grunge. Here’s the dhobhi ghat, there’s the flapping clothesline, here’s the colourful ‘kotha’, there’s mud and the flamingos and the rattling local train and, a colourful sketch of Holi players, which looks as if it was shot somewhere in North India, rather than the bay.
Which renders the film good-looking yet hollow, and leaves us wondering why, if Majidi did have to make a Hindi film, did he choose this subject? He’s clearly seeing it at second-remove.
One of the loveliest parts of the film features two young girls, an old ‘paati’, played by veteran Kannada actress GV Sharada, and the lively Khatter. They are playing a shadow game, singing a rousing A R Rahman ditty (ARR has scored the music for the film), horsing around, having fun. These are felt moments, capturing motion and emotion. They feel like a film. But they are only moments.
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