Ishaan Khatter, Malvika Mohanan
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" - quoting Oscar Wilde is perhaps the best I could do to sum up my experience of Majid Majidi’s first indo-venture. Moving beyond the clouds of despair, Majidi brings us a ray of hope. It is beautiful how Majidi has woven his first Indian story around the country with a lot of its flaws but he hasn’t rubbed our noses to the ground speaking about the mess the majority of us call life.
The film starts with two boys feeling lucky, they have a loot that has then dancing to music, and forgetting all about the vulnerabilities and touch the skies they were meant to. Amir (Ishaan Khatter) impresses us with his moves but is soon back on the bike and running away from the authorities. These boys are trafficking drugs and dreaming big. They believe success is bound to come and life would definitely be what it should have been all along.
Amir’s sister, Tara (Malvika Mohanan), isn’t particularly living a life of dreams. She is dealing with her abusive husband, taking favours from her employer which she pays in kind by warming his bed, she is manipulative and street-smart but she needs very little to make herself happy. The siblings are hoping for a better tomorrow but things go awfully wrong instead.
Without giving away the story, let’s just say that the dark clouds keep surrounding them till there seems no redemption in sight and yet Majidi brings around hope like only he could. The last sequence as we see them walk away from prison really brings out a wistful sigh from all quarters of the audience, even those who didn’t particularly find their connect with the protagonists.
If you are aware of Majid Majidi’s work thus far, you might not think he gave his best with Beyond The Clouds - what were his restrictions, where did he fall short, let’s get to that eventually. But for Ishaan, this film will ensure that he has arrived into the marquee with a bang. Thus far he has been known as Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother, but he seems to have it in him to break that description and find his own space in the realms of a good performer.
As Amir, Ishaan gives his all to the film and Malvika supports him nicely. Though, her portions are a little too cliched, Mohanan gives a decent go to her Tara. She is quite good.
However, Majidi doesn’t leave his characters free until he has ensured that he has given them every support possible in the form of a prelude, perfect lighting and a background score that works beautifully to set the atmosphere.
Anil Mehta’s cinematography needs a special mention. Each and every frame is beautiful, even when one is speaking about the diversity in the standard of living in India, and yet, it is morbid. The way Majidi brings sunshine through the presence of small children cannot be done by any other director as efficiently.
The dialogues by Vishal Bharadwaj are nice but doesn’t do justice to the flavour of Mumbai. With too many languages depicting the life in the slums, the confusion mutes the impact at times.
The audience coming into the theatres won't be coming in to see Ishaan Khatter, they will be there for the Majidi magic, unfortunately, Beyond The Clouds isn’t his most effective work but it is effective.