The angry old man turns into a smarty pants tween in R Balki’s Paa, a movie that also stars the sultry Vidya Balan, and Abhishek Bachchan as a dashing politico. A thoroughly AB Corp venture, there’s Jayaji even reading out opening credits to an audience waiting to watch Auro, who manages to warm your heart, not because he has this genetic disorder but because he’s just another kid trying to cope with what life throws at him.
Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) lives with his mother Vidya (Balan), a gynecologist and grandmother (Nag). A chance encounter in school gets him in touch with MP Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan), who happens to be his father but he doesn’t know it yet. Years ago, his parents who met at Cambridge parted ways, before Vidya gave birth to a child, who is diagnosed with progeria and rapidly aging before her.
But Auro is more about the boy than the disability and manages to tug at your heartstrings with his soft voice, quips, friendly banter with schoolmates, nausea at the sight of a girl, and so on. And before you know it you start empathizing with the kid, partly because of Ilayaraja’s background score.
The character so wins you over, it overrides Amol’s with his curt neta speeches and stubborn drive to wipe corruption off from the face of the country, with the help of innovative tactics and public appeal.
The story is straight-forwardly simple and hinges solely on the performances. Thankfully the cast is not something to complain about. Paresh Rawal and Arundhati Nag slip in and out of frames but make their presence felt. Even Auro’s friends (though suspiciously well-behaved) put up a decent play. But Paa belongs to the bigger Bachchan all along. There’s hardly a time when you think there’s a 67-year old inside the big bulbous head.
Watch it because this is anything but a “very rare father-son-son-father story.”