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These clouds bring a welcome changeA still from Beyond The Clouds
Movie Review: Beyond The Clouds

These clouds bring a welcome change

20 Apr 2018 | 6:46 PM

Movie: Beyond The Clouds

Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan, G V Sharada, Goutam Ghose and Tannishtha Chatterjee

Director: Majid Majidi

[ + read story ]

Nonika Singh

Every dark cloud has a silver lining... around this simple yet deep thought, celebrated Iranian director Majid Majidi’s weaves his Hindi film. Beyond The Clouds… there could be sunshine, rain, heaven or heaven knows what. The film begins with camera lingering at the mammoth poster of the Jio dream, before moving on to Mumbai’s seamier side. As the underbelly of city of dreams surfaces, he brings to us a world not so unfamiliar yet the one that we rarely stop by to notice let alone ponder about.

Aamir (Ishaan Khatter), a drug-peddler of sorts is the central protagonist here. Equally important is his sister Tara (Malavika Mohanan) who finds a living between working at dhobhi ghat and sleeping with men for money. In short, both live on the margins and a rather unenviable and struggle-full life it is.

In an early twist in the film she ends up behind bars and he moves between hospital and jail and his area of crime. Life’s vicissitudes often throw up new connections. Aamir for instance is forced to look after a man Akshi (Goutam Ghose) and his family, he normally would have despised to even glance at. Famous Bengali director Goutam Ghose is apt in a brief but significant part. If Tara finds her reasons to live inside the four walls of a prison, Aamir finds redemption outside. How people bond in the most trying and unusual circumstances, how suffering can be a cementing tie… all this finds an echo, suitably if not subtly. 

Majidi, for whom location is like a character in itself, uses visuals as an eloquent tool to convey. Birds are an integral part of the imagery that he creates. Cinematography by Anil Mehta is wonderful and halts at just the right junctures. At times symbols speak louder than words and at other points these are allusions. The play of forms and silhouettes on curtains for instance… is Majidi hinting that happiness is like a chimera in the life of the dispossessed?  But, of course, he does play up the joy of small things as well as the magic of human touch. Take the imprint of hand on Aamir’s shirt or the final coming together of two hands. Indeed, not all images stir or stay with you and some do appear contrived. The same could be said about the storyline that oscillates between hope and despair, between artistic and realistic.

Comparing the film to Majidi’s other brilliant films would be unfair. Treat it as his maiden foray in Hindi cinema and you will find it a fairly satisfying affair. Talking of debuts, Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan Khatter is simply remarkable. You warm up to him instantly and are most likely to agree with Majidi who believes his cast comprises the superstars of tomorrow. In comparison, lovely and expressive Malavika Mohanan grows on you. From a defeatist unable to adjust to her impending fate to the woman finding succor and offering it to the even lesser privileged; she makes the last scene especially impactful. It lingers on, even at second glance. The opening film at the IFFI, Goa, one was privy to a few months ago, one remembered it essentially as a strong story of positivity amidst hopelessness. The lasting impression doesn’t change in repeat viewing. Whatever may be the perils of life, humanity continues to exist in crevices and margins, in the most unlikely human conditions and among those pushed to the periphery. Les miserables, the wretched and the poor have their own reasons to love, live and be joyous. And it could be as simple as sighting the moon.

Without romanticizing poverty, Majidi serves a tale which may not be as nuanced as expected of a master like him but is touching and heartfelt nevertheless. 

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com 

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