Sholay, 1975

Directed by: Ramesh Sippy

Induct me into the Legion of Fillum Watchers because I’ve finally put on my legitimacy pants and watched Sholay.

Sick of all the endless taunting and eye boggling that would ensue when I admitting to never having seen it, I popped down to my DVDwallah and picked it up with Nagin. Together the films will be a gift for my coworker, but not before I’ve watched them first.

Please hold all judgements you might have on my using a gift before I’ve given it. It’s just easier this way.

Simply speaking, this is the look I would get.
Also, I never intended on the absolute luck of watching and writing this on Dharmendra’s birthday. So happy 75th to one hell of a smoking hot grandpa.

As usual, I cannot promise an absence of spoilers but since I was probably the only person left on planet earth who had not seen this film I am sure it’s safe if I give away some secrets.

Sholay can be summed up in one hyperbolic word: seamless.

Compared to its contemporaries there is a evenness and level of cleanliness that shines throughout Sholay and that you fail to find in other films. Is it my beloved Masala? Yes, but it is Masala done so well that it comes off as effortless, plausible and all together worthy of its standing as a Classic of Indian cinema.

Mainly I respect Sholay for utilizing two of my favorite concepts:
1. Use of essential personnel only
2. Faith enough in the story and the vehicle of story telling to kill characters.

I have waxed poetic and relentlessly on so many films about the mistake of giving screen time to characters and side-plots that do not need to be there. It pulls attention away from what the audience is supposed to focus on and it drags the pace. In Sholay the story is trimmed back only to the handful of characters who matter; namely Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar), Veeru (Dharmendra), Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) and Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan).  The film has a large supporting cast, toting the names of Hema Malini*, Jaya Badhuri*and Helen, but they come and go as needed. Speaking their peace, interjecting backstory and giving a 3D nature to the main characters when needed but they fade well enough into the background when they’re not needed and provide a clear and uncluttered stage upon which the drama may be played.

My second point, while considerably morbid, is no less important. As I was watching the ending I kept thinking “please do not cheapen this by keeping them all alive just for appearances’ sake!” It did not feel right to me that all of them should make it to the end, having the evil nature of Gabbar Singh been showcased as it was. There is a smack of Realism about Sholay that transcends the film and seems to tell you straight out that the story is going to give you something truthful. The decision to kill off a character is a bold move, and whether done in film, TV or literature is the sign of a writer who has faith enough that the story can stand on its own without the support of an actor or specific voice. As I watched a wounded and abandoned Jai try to fight off four ruthless henchmen I hoped that he had wits enough about him to fight back but that the odds would be realistic. Sholay will not provide a deus ex machina, and for that I’m so thankful.

At the end of the film there was another piece of action that totally won me over: Thakur is faced with the chance to kill his enemy and enact his revenge OR to turn over Gabbar Singh over to the cops. There is a moment of hesitation as he decides and I cannot honestly say I knew which path I wanted him to choose. There was the choice I knew I wanted him to make but also the one I thought would be right given the circumstances. It was like the decision for Jai to die; either direction would have worked but ultimately the writer and director made the correct choice and added to the credibility of the film.

Gabbar Singh. How do I even go about explaining Gabbar Singh?

I’ll start by saying that it is good to be finally clued in to all the jokes that have ever been made about him in any of the films I’ve ever seen. I feel like I belong to the worlds biggest inside joke. It feels amazing.
Quite frankly, Gabbar Singh scares the living daylights out of me. He’s heartless, ruthless and so devoid of any sense of right and wrong that it makes my blood run cold. However, credit must be given to the yummy** Amjad Khan for giving the character more than just a hateful shell, but for giving him the gem  of comedic relief. His expression, posture and outer absurdity masks the moral depravity that resides within our Mr. Singh. This humor is seen most freely when Gabbar Singh is lounging around in his out-of-doors hiding place in the middle of a mountainside. Actually, now that I am writing this the humor seems wrong. Very wrong. It is more of a look amusement at the pain he is causing, and the abandonment of decency that he has achieved. Nonetheless, and this probably says something horrible about my character, I found him rather amusing at times… Now I am all sorts of conflicted.

Our heros, Dharmendra’s Veeru and Amitabh’s Jai, were as expertly defined as they could have been. Throughout you see Veeru being fun loving and up to all sorts of antics while Jai languishes on the side looking, at turns, bored or apathetic. The latter of which is rather interesting to see. A disinterested hero is a fun deviation from the Hero with a Cause or the Wounded Man. This is when I wish I was back on set (and back in time) so I could ask if this was a conscious decision; and whether it was made by the director or the actor.

And you know I’ll never say “no” to a greased-up, sweating, dirty Amitabh. No sir. It goes against my basic biology.

OR Amitabh’s legs…
OR Amitabh in white bell bottoms and slinging a rifle on to his shoulders with a cool, Devil may care attitude…
But I digress…

I know that we have the lovely Shashitabh, but I am thinking there needs to be another such name for the Dharmendra-Amitabh paring. They are too adorable for words. I want to be their best friend. I have it: Dharmytabh. Adopt this, people.

While I adore both Jaya and Hema I feel as if they were cheated in this film. They were both given such stock characters and they adhered to them so rigidly it is hard to commend or disapprove of their performances. While both are endearing, they are not wildly memorable and were used just to give our heros someone to woo. It is fun that each character ended up with the personality that mostly resembled their own… and the women did provide reason for Veeru and Jai to give up their criminal ways and desire to settle down, but for me that just is not enough. On a side note, I did enjoy Jaya’s “before” personality immensely. She was such a bubbly thing!

Holi love song? 
Perfect.

For having a Burman score, it is interesting to me that I can’t remember any of the songs, except for the consideration that the songs are not the focus of the film. They are used to add flavor to the film but they do not drive the film, nor interrupt it.

Sholay is a total winner in my book. I can understand why it is revered and admired across decades and opinions. Before, when I was skeptical and unaware I would bitterly say “It better f’ing be like the Indian Godfather.” It is. Pure and simple.

All in all, I consider a substantial part of my Filmi education complete. I just have to polish off a few of the other Classics and I’ll be a giant among… something.

Oh dear. I am so going to have to buy another copy of this film. I don’t think my coworker can have this one.

*Hema Malini and Jaya Badhuri are listed as “main” characters, but for the purpose of explanation and the parts that they played in development of the plot I am referring to them as “supporting”.
**Don’t even think about judging me for that one. He’s handsome.

Silsila, 1981

Directed by: Yash Chopra

I cannot hate this film. I just can’t.

It goes against my better nature, but I can’t. I don’t have the power to.

I despise cheating/adultery/sneaking around/hidden romances… all variations of dochebaggery.
I find all forms of self-sacrifice, withering, and pathetic justifications absolutely disgusting.
BUT
I appreciate semi-quasi-maybe-it-is-and-maybe-it-isn’t biographical flicks.
I love awkward semi-quasi-maybe-it-is-and-maybe-it-isn’t casting. It’s so true to life! It happens all the time!
Couple those with some of my favorites, Rekha, Shashi, Amitabh, Jaya and Sanjeev; throw in some Alps, romantic tulip fields, some nods to Clara Bow, and overall Yash-Raj-ishness and you probably will get a movie that I’m going to love.
This movie is like the cleaner, more endearing Bombay Talkie. It is highly, highly Romanticized, but it still has the same basic feel, except for all of the pathetic characters; on the whole, while I pitied the characters in this film, I neither hated them or thought they were right. They were just being human. (With glaring morality issues, but for this moment, that is beyond the point).
 
Shekher (Shashi Kapoor) is an officer in the Indian Air Force and he is truely, madly, deeply in love with Shobha (Jaya Badhuri*). 
 
Shekher has a brother Amit, whom he loves dearly too. And they do precious brotherly things… like shower together…?
The unfairness of this reverberates through MANY levels of unfairness.

Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) is a playwright, lauded for his voice which he uses to read his plays over the radio, and is smitten by the seductive Chandni (Rekha) whom he meets at a wedding and woos in precious filmi-love ishsyle. 

 

Chandni is promised to another man, but when she tells her father she is in love with Amit, he breaks off the engagement and allows her to follow her heart. When Shekher is killed in a rescue mission, Amit rushes off to the funeral and in the process discovers that Shobha is pregnant. Out of loyalty to his brother, and compassion towards Shobha Amit marries her. Amit writes a tearful goodbye to Chandni and shuts her out of his life for good…
 
Or so we think. While Amit plays the doting husband very well, especially after Shobha loses the baby, he is tormented by what his life could have been like, had he been free to marry Chandni. The more the couple drifts apart the more desperate Amit becomes in his quest to find Chandni and revive their romance. Almost by design the two meet, and meet again, and again and again… At first Chandni is firm, there will be no relationship. Amit is married, she too married a Dr. V.K. Anand (Sanjeev Kumar) and she will not take part in the eventual destruction of two families. 

 

Amit is nothing if not persistant, and eventually wears down Chandni’s resolve and the two begin a passionate, blissful affair. At first the relationship is taken casually by the respective participant’s spouses, but slowly, ever so slowly Shobha and Dr. Anand get the hints.  After a particularly telling display at Holi the lovers are confronted. Shobha tries to scold Amit but he does not find her serious and Dr. Anand persuades Chandni to forget her past before it rips apart their marriage. 

 

Later, when Dr. Anand and Shobha chat the Doctor tells Shobha that she has rights, and she has the ability to stand her ground and get what she wants too. Shobha races off to tell Amit that she loves him, and she does, but only after he confesses that he is being unfair to her, he loves Chandni and he’s leaving. 
 
Rather than put up a fight, Shobha lets Amit leave, citing that he will return when his sense of duty kicks in and that she is resigned to wait for him until that happens. 
 
When the two extramarital adulterers go to a wedding together “as friends” things get messy. And fast. During the ceremony Amit thinks of his wedding to Shobha and her newly confessed love for him, he’s haunted by his nonchalance and lost sense of duty.  A phone call in the middle of the wedding alerts the two decietful lovebirds of a plane crash involving Chandni’s husband. The two race to the scene where Amit sees Shobha. He is ready to jump into the continually exploding wreckage but is halted by Shobha who begs him no to. She doesn’t want to loose him, he should consider saving himself, if not for her, than for her unborn child.  With those magic words Amit’s demeanor changes and he softens a little. He promises that he will come back to her, and flies into the burning plane. 
 
Dr. Ananad is alive, remarkably, and Amit assists in dragging him out of the plane and to his wife; Chandni, in a move uncharacteristic for her thus far, embraces her husband and rejoices at his safety.
 
Amit races home to find Shobha (who had collapsed due to anxiety) and professes he is her husband, she his wife and nothing else matters. The film closes with Shobha and Amit strolling lovingly through a park, cuddling, goo-goo eying and looking very happy.

 

First a foremost I don’t understand why Amit had to marry Shobha at all. Se appeared to be an independent woman who could take care of herself. I understand that she would have been an unmarried mother, but surely all parties would have been better suited had Amit just married Chandni. The whole idea of marrying his brother’s fiancee, not wife, but fiancee, just seemed incredibly Biblical and dated. Plus, if I were to put myself into Shobha’s shoes, I wouldn’t have wanted someone to marry me just because they felt sorry for me. There was so much guilt, regret and misplaced sympathy in that that relationship, and that is just not healthy. Of course something like that is going to self-destruct. If not in an affair, in another way.
 
Amit needed to grow up, and that’s that. HE made the choice to offer marriage to Shobha so HE shouldn’t have felt the need to call up Chandni whenever he got a little mopey and insist they get back together, especially after she tried to say no! At least she was being a responsible adult in her attempts to have some sense of propriety. After her blatant refusal it should have been a non-issue, but Amit persisted and look where that got them.

I’m not going to even start on Shobha’s “I’ll wait till he returns because I have no claim on him, he has no responsibility to me, I only must do what he says and stand by him because I owe him for marrying me in the first place” stance. I refuse to go there. 

 
I think I was so sympathetic to this film because it was shot absolutely beautifully. Visual aesthetic will get you quite far in my book. Yash Chopra has a gift for composing stunning scenes that just ooze perfection. I drool over this mans lighting and his eye for creating ambiance and interesting pictures.

I especially liked Rekha’s treatment in this film. Obviously she was the femme fatal, and I don’t know if Yash was going through a Film Noir binge or what but there are some excellent moments where Rekha is shot  very much in the style of all the steamy oldies. She’s the Clara Bow of Bollywood. That’s my new name for her, because frankly, she is. Oh, her half-opened eyes and her pouty baby-doll lips, I can’t get enough! 

 

The performances made this movie. Being cast in their “real-life roles” (yes, I will get there**) added some spice and edge to the film. There was discomfort laced through every scene. There was tangible tension and moments of “Please stop looking at each other like that, and get back to acting, please” where I thought they had forgotten that they were playing characters.
 
 However, I do have to say that my favorite performance was by Sanjeev. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorites, he’s just so calm and collected, yet manages to convey everything his character is experiencing through his subtitles in his face and carriage. When he confronted Rekha about her affair it was heartbreaking, astonishingly real and overwhelmingly touching. 

 

The music is simply beautiful. Melodious, catchy, calm, soothing, beautiful…etc. Everything that good music is, this soundtrack has it. Of particular note are Sar Se Sarke and Ladki Hai Ya Shola. As well as having good songs, there are A LOT of them. As far as I’m concerned they’re all going on my iPod to help stave off boredom on my flight to India.

Ok, the drama.

As far as I’m concerned I don’t really care about the Rekha/Jaya/Amitabh real-life love triangle. I’m not one to get involved in celebrity woes and drama, and based on the effortless, minimal hunting I did no-one could tell me if it actually happened or not. Let’s though, say it did, in which case kudos to Yash Chopra for wrangling all three of these people and getting them to say “yes” to this film. On the other hand, let’s say it’s not true, and again, kudos to Mr. Chopra for getting them to play up the press the “affair” was getting. (I tend to lean towards the “yea, it happened” ideal, but still, I find that rather irrelevant)

I’mma say it again:
I love this movie.

*Jaya is billed with that last name, but on the film credits as Bachchan. I left her with that one, because that’s how I roll…
**I thought about not mentioning the real-lifey bits at all, but I know better than that. 

AND, a joy I had never considerd, Shashi in uniform! Enjoy:

 

Deewaar, 1975

Directed by: Yash Chopra

Since I watched this movie and Parvarish on the same weekend about a week ago, I’m getting them confused in my brain, as they both include and good vs. bad brothers, poliece officer brothers, Neetu! and vilians…

Nevertheless I shall do my best to provide you with the right story (thank you, Wikipedia!).

Can I lead with “I just loved this movie!!”? Too late, I just did. If there is anything I like, it’s Shashitabh, Shashi in an unbuttoned shirt, Amitabh in an unbuttoned shirt slatherd in oil (or you know, sweat) some dishoom-dishoom, Neetu!, expertly gymnastic fight scenes, and Shashi Kapoor. This movie has it all.

The Triumvirate of all things Amazing

It all starts out with Anand (Satyen Kappu) rallying laborors in a strike. He is lauded in the villigae for his leadership and moral fiber. He comes home everynight to his two sons Vijay (Amitabh) and Ravi (Shashi) who idolize their darling Paa and are fed great amounts of “your dad is the best!” at school.

We know where this is going, na?

Please notice the henchmen. 
Neither of them change standing positions in the entire film.

When Anand goes to speak with the head honcho concerning the laborors rights he is blackmailed into agreeing to the boss’ terms with threats to his family. Ever the softhearted father he gives into the the boss and is mobbed by the mass of laborors when he tells them that he has given in and not recieved any new protections for them.

Here is when I start to hate him (the father). Anand runs away from the hospital in a bid to win his family some relief from the heckling they are getting from people in town. Anand is the typical fallen hero who can’t seem to pick himself up by the bootlaces and carry on with his life. Rather than, oh I don’t know, moving to another town with his family, he spends the rest of his life as a Hobo on the trains. That’s dispicable.

Meanwhile his son Vijay is beaten up and tattooed with “My father is a thief” (or “liar” my subtitles switched between the two) on his arm because his dad can’t be around to protect his son. I just want to vomit.

Realizing that things have gotten out of control, the boys’ mother, Sumitra Devi (Nirupa Roy) moves with the boys to Mumbai, trading their modest home for a blanket under the bridge and a life of housework for hard manual labor on construction sites. Sumitra is heartbroken that she cannot give her sons the life they once had, and especially that they cannot attend school. Vijay promises to get a job so that with his salary combined with his mothers, they can at least send Ravi to school.

Vijay gets a job as a shoe shiner on the street where he encounters our main villian, who infroms his goons that Vijay will make his way in the world. Flashforward ten years or so and we see Vijay working at the docks (and covertly with the same villain whose shoes he shined) and Ravi is desperatly trying to find a job post-college education. Ravi is also dating Leena (the delicious Neetu Singh!) who is the daughter of the police commissioner. After loosing out interview after interview (and giving some jobs away to someone worse off because he’s just that good) Leena’s father suggests he become a police officer.

You can say THAT again!

Meanwhile, Vijay decends further and further down the underworld and smuggler’s route as his involvement with the evil villains increases.

Enter: Brotherly conflict.

Can we please look at Shashi’s foot! 

Ravi is assigned the task of rooting out smuggling and criminal behaviour, but when he is presented with the dossier he discovers that he is chasing his bhai! He broods, sexily (since it is Shashi) and decides that he will take the case. He returns home, confronts his brother and moves out of their house “furnished with stolen goods”* on principle.

Vijay in the meantime not only continues his bad behavior but gets involved with a prostitute, Anita (Parveen Babi). I must admit I was shocked to all hell when the camera cut to the two of them enjoying some post-coital cigaretts in bed. So shocked but so enjoyed it. How refreshingly, grittingly real! Anita is a special character, she’s a strong woman who isn’t tragic or needy or reliant on her man. She’s a little rough around the edges but I am so glad for that. She knows what she wants, and she’s going to get it.

Goodness, that’s steamy!

Anita informs Vijay that she’s pregnant and quick as a flash, boom! Vijay becomes the sweetest father-to-be ever!** He plans on turning himself into the police, repaying his debt to society, apologizing to his Maa, and asks Anita to marry him. Anita is shocked, since she was never going to force Vijay into any part of their child’s life, but she gets very sweet and soft, day dreaming about their wedding. Vijay tells her to get ready and to meet him at the temple that night, and off he dashes to make himself an honest man. He calls his mother to ask her to be there, to bless him and forgive him.

Knowing that Vijay’s brother is after them, the Villian and his goons come looking for him. They find Anita, home alone, busining herself with getting dressed for her wedding. They demand that she tell them where Vijay is, but she refuses. They try to intimidate her, yet still she resists. They beat her, and when Vijay returns home he finds her barely clinging to life. They whisper frantic “I love you”s to each other as Anita dies.

Vijay is pissed. (And rightfully so!) Forgetting all about his promise to become a better man he hunts down the people who killed his love and gives them some dishoom-dishoom in return.

Back in the land of Ravi, Sumitra tells him that Vijay was always the favorite, but knowing that it is Ravi’s duty, if he must shoot his brother, Sumitra gives him her blessing.

Ravi chases down his brother and in a dramatic build-up, shoots him. Vijay stumbles up the steps of the temple and finds his mother, waiting for him. He dies cradeled in her arms begging for her forgiveness, Ravi watching on, visually tormeneted by what he’s done.

Ravi recieves an award for his actions, but as the camera pans away admist his applause from fellow poliece officers there is a very unsettled, unhappy aura about the scene.

I was so stinking tense during the entire movie. The script and the story line were so tight and so perfectly meshed that it was like a never-ending roller coaster of anxiety. What were the brothers to do? What was the Maa to do? Was the dead-beat dad ever going to come back?”

It was excellent, and that’s all I can say about it.

This is an Amitabh showcase, and for good reason, his performance in this is absolutely fantastic. We all know that our Big B does the scowly “Angry Young Man” thing to a T, but there are hidden facets of his abilities that are so subtle, you can miss them, which is a shame because they are just so so so good! His subltety stands out against his peers, because, and we love it for this, but Bollys aren’t known for their ease of emotion.

Since this is Shashi’s birthday I want to talk about him, but I can’t help but feel that he was just so overshadowed by Amitabh! It breaks my heart to say so, but it is the truth. I like Shashi best when he’s lighthearted, sweet, kind, funny, suave… and there are moments that display those great things about him in this movie, but he was swept aside in favor of Amitabh’s anger. It was almost like they thought, “Well, Ravi is the good one, what more does he need than a few vignettes with Neetu?” so that’s what they gave us.

I want more Anita-like girls in my films! She rocked it!

This is so one of my new favorites!

*I’m 100% sure they said the same thing in Parvarish… and only 50% sure that they said it here.
**I have limited maternal instincts, and will need a man to make up for my lacking in that department, therefore, when I see men fall to pieces over pregnancy or babies I just melt into goo.

And just to drool over:

Eklavya, 2007

Eklavya: The Royal Guard, 2007
Directed by: Vidhu Vindod Chopra

Oh! My poor neglected blog! I promise I haven’t forgotten about you!
I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since my first-ever encounter with real Bollywood…I was young and impressionable and sitting in a crowded Desi theatre two blocks off of my college campus waiting for Salaam-e-Ishq when I saw the preview. Had I known that that encounter would be the beginning of the long road of Bollywoods to come I would have given the previews more thought, but I do remember Eklavya looking marginally interesting. If anything the lightness of “Chanda Re” playing under some man frantically screaming “EKLAAAAVYAA!” amidst a lush, beautiful set piqued my interest.

Three years later…I finally watched it!

I’m just going cut to the chase and say what everyone else says about this film: It’s stinking gorgeous. Drop dead, drool-worthy sets, stunning cinematography, rich colors and to-die-for locations. The thought “Damn, VeeVee Chop can really make a pretty movie” kept cycling through my mind as I watched it.

And that…was my only substantial impression.

Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it but it just left me a little unsatisfied. The film is short (by Bollywood standards) and the ending left a funny taste in my mouth, since I disapprove of false evidence that allows for guilty people to go free and everything… Not that it really mattered, I guess, but it still was a little off…

I thought the story was very interesting. Full of twists and turns that, while a bit predictable, kept the plot moving. Because of the shortness of the film I don’t think as many characters were as fleshed out as they could have been. I love a good back story, and Eklavya just gave you the bare minimum. It was enough for the film to make sense and progress, but not enough to satiate my hunger for details.

Having only seen Saif in Love Aaj Kal (ugh) I was impressed by his rawness, he was sort of like the Rhett Butler of Bollywood (well, not really…but ok, not at all…ish) in this film, and if anyone can get me all flustered, Rhett Butler can. Everything he did was so internal and contained that it was thrilling to watch. I kept waiting for him to explode in spontaneous emotional combustion but he never did. Exciting!

I adored the Vidya/Saif jodi. She finally matched someone! Please, please, please keep them together! She didn’t out-pretty her man and she didn’t look older than him either! And the scene where they are talking together and just holding hands and playing finger-footsie was just too much to handle. It was so real! Who hasn’t done that? I adore when filmi couples act like real people and don’t go running to the nearest Swiss mountain (though, admittedly, I do love that too).

Amitabh can act. Why haven’t I noticed this before? I always thought he was kind of dead behind the eyes. Slap my wrists, yes, please, I’m not worthy…etc. I’ve always enjoyed watching him but I think it took Paa and this movie for me to actually see him as an actor. All hail Amitabh! His whole body emotes, and I’m such a fool for never noticing.

I was super confused by the time period in this film. At first I thought it was going to be one of those “timeless” films, like Paheli or the weird Saawariya, but it’s apparently set in contemporary Rajasthan. Whatever, it would have worked either way.

The music is subtle, used as incidentally and in more of a soundtrack sense. It fit the film perfectly that way… I couldn’t imagine any large song and dance numbers in this film that would flow logically, the music is beautiful and ethereal, the kind of stuff I live for.

To the costumer I give all of my heart. What a spectacular job! All of the fabrics and outfits were just too good to be true.

Oh! And I can’t forget the Sharmila cameo! She’s just so wonderful, na? I think so.

Paa, 2009

Directed by: R. Balki

I thought I knew what I was getting myself into with this film. Auro, a boy with Progeria (Amitabh) and his father (Abhishek) bound around with happiness and laughter and we get a dil-warming film that makes us laugh and cry.

Uh, I was so wrong… but in a pleasantly surprising way.

Auro is the love child of two college kids, Vidya (Vidya Balan) and Amol (Abhishek) wannabe Doctor and Politician, respectively.  Vidya learns she’s pregnant and Amol asks her to have an abortion because “he has a career to pursue”, and she rightfully tells him that she does too. She returns home to India and keeps the baby all while studying and getting her doctorate. (Go Vidya!) Her son is born with a progressive and rare disease, Progeria, which makes the children age faster than others, so by the time Auro is 12 he looks like he’s around 70 or 80, and his body reflects that. He has heart problems, bone issues, but mentally he is fit and just as normal as another 12 year old boy. He loves his computer, video games and his best friends.
Auro first meets Amol when he hosts a competition at his school, which Auro wins. Vidya sees the award ceremony on the nighttime news and we are rushed into the “Do I tell him that’s his father or not?” story line that continues to get more and more pressing as Auro and Amol strike up a relationship and firendship.
On his 13th birthday Vidya tells Auro who his father is, so now Auro has the responsibility to determine if he wants to be a “hiccup” in his father’s very public life.
 
The movie comes to its climax when Auro suffers an attack and Amol and Vidya are brought together for the first time around their son’s hospital bed. The media storm is huge and suddenly everyone knows that Amol Arte, politician extrodinare has a son he never knew about, from an unwed woman. He asks her to marry her via TV (I would have said no) and she refuses until the two are brought together by Auro and he makes them do the “round and round and round” (wedding circles) around his hospital bed.  He unites them and whispers “Maa” and “Paa” right before he dies.
 
I was a sad-sack by the end of this film. Maybe it was because it was New Years Eve and I was sitting in a theatre alone (well, with two uncles at the verrrrry back) or maybe I was tired or maybe I was just really touched by the efforts of the Bachchans Squared.

I have never heard or seen Amitabh like that and it was a remarkable transformation. The makeup was a little strange, yes, but he genuinely looked as if he had progeria and everything about him was altered along with his prosthetics. His walk, his arms, his voice(!), the movements of his head were all so perfectly aligned with the character or Auro that you stopped seeing Amitabh and started seeing only Auro. It was a true testament to the depth and ability that Amitabh has as an actor that he was able to so completely disappear in this role.

Much like his father Abhishek gave a fantastic performance as well. He had sensitivity, care, compassion and love just oozing out of him in every scene (well, except for when he sticks it too the media…but…) so much that I just felt for him. His pain was my pain, his joy, mine…etc. It was just a treat to watch him.

Vidya Balan (whom I’ve only ever seen in Salaam-e-Ishq) also wowed me, but her character got on my nerves every once and a while. She was almost too concerned with not being the thing that ruined Amol’s life that it got in the way of her and her son’s happiness and in itself was a hiccup that she was so afraid to become.

Jaya Bachchan read the opening titles, sitting regally in a exquisite sari. She really has to be the most beautiful person in the world.

There were a lot of homey touches in the film, like Auro’s very teenage writing on his door and walls (i.e. “Knock, or I will “knock” your head off!) posters of bands, awkward tween crushes and preteen temper tantrums won over with a new XBox, I like those kind of additions to films; they make the experience more real and more familiar.

I feel like I’m Romanticizing this film, and I am, because there were some moments in the beginning and middle were I just wasn’t on board for the story line and I thought the flow was strange and there were a few stories that were just loose ends; but I was so touched by everything else, that all my complaints seemed to have vanished from my memory.