Pushing Boundaries

Paa is all about Amitabh Bachchan but works because he subverts his status.

01 January 2010

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS,Paa will have been much discussed, reviewed, praised or reviled. And, unless you have been living under a rock, it will have been impossible to ignore the movie, as the Bachchan clan has gone all out to promote their comeback AB Corp production.

The barebones plot first. Political science student and politician’s son Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan) and medical student Vidya (Vidya Balan) meet at a British university (a mix of Oxford and Cambridge locations), fall in love, and have sex. Vidya becomes pregnant, but Amol does not want to have the child as it will hamper his political ambitions. Vidya promises that the child will not be a hiccup in Amol’s destined political career. She disappears from his life, returns home to Lucknow and her mother (Arundhati Nag) and decides to have the baby. While Amol is left thinking that she had an abortion, the baby, Auro, is born and diagnosed with progeria—a rare medical condition occurring once every eight million births, where children mature physically at about five times the normal rate. Most do not survive beyond age 13.

The film’s main narrative begins when Auro, now a 12-year-old trapped in an old man’s body, receives the first prize for a school science project from Amol, now an MP. Much to Vidya’s worry, Auro begins an email relationship with Amol and before he goes on a promised trip to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi with his newfound MP friend, Vidya is forced to tell Auro the truth. Auro promises her he will never become a liability to his father’s career, and after they meet, Amol and Auro start to bond. In one dramatic scene, Auro suffers a periodic attack from his condition and he is hospitalised, Amol finds out that Auro is his son. He is willing to put his political career at stake, accept Auro and reunite with Vidya, but she will have none of it. As Auro’s condition worsens, the son attempts to persuade his parents to reconcile.

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    Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan Hindi film Naman Ramachandran Balki Paa