Majid Majidi’s crash landing on Bollywood grounds takes the viewers by surprise, as his Hindi film ‘Beyond the Clouds’ strikes an uncanny resemblance to many a Bollywood underworld flick, raking up reminiscences galore for the Indian audience. It is this bland familiarity that works against the film, and for those of us who had grown up on the stark brilliance that underlay ‘Baran’, ‘Children of Heaven’ and ‘The Colour of Paradise’, the disappointment is likely to be even more intense.
The humanistic traits that had endeared Majidi’s works to cinema lovers across the world, are cautiously maintained in ‘Beyond the Clouds’ as well. Majidi sets his new film on the slums of Mumbai and gets to work on the splendour of indigence, even as his cinematographer Anil Mehta blazingly captures a surreal tone on most of his frames.
Tara (Malavika Mohanan) finds herself behind bars, when a quirky incident leaves her raising the hatchet on Akshi (Gautam Ghose), leaving the man almost dead. Her younger brother Amir (Ishaan Khattar), a drug peddler on the Mumbai streets, promises to get her out as soon as he can. However, when Akshi’s old mother and his two very young daughters land up on his doorstep, Amir finds himself in a peculiar predicament.
The all-out score by A R Rahman is one that has been meticulously composed, and one which retains and very often even elevates the moody tone of the piece. There are commendable performances from the leading cast – be it Malavika Mohanan or Ishaan Khattar, Gautam Ghose or Sharda – and Majidi gets his message straight across through them. Only that its a message that has been put across a bit too often through cinema in this part of the world.