The raucous drama, Beyond the clouds(Ansooy-e Abrha), directed by the renowned Iranian director Majid Majidi is a movie that revolves around the popular slums of Mumbai. Diverting from his heart-soothing umbrageous drama stories about the kids, the most recognized one being 1998’s Oscar nominee, The children of heaven, along with his pious biopic Prophet, Muhammad.
The movie Beyond the clouds is about a brother and a sister who are in their twenties and who stumble into the twirling, deceptively colorful, prejudiced Mumbai’s web, where everything is abrupt and one must abide and survive, akin to Amir by one’s sheer wit.
The satire of poverty’s pinch is similar to his ethereal direction of Badan, where a young Afghan immigrant girl camouflages as a boy to work in the same company as her late father. However, Beyond the clouds is a much grim drama, where the two kins are strangulated in the bleak ambience that includes the merciless law of throwing the suspects into a confinement without a liable trial and barbaric lords smuggling the drugs and prostitutes, unflinched. Such surroundings trap the children in its cobweb.
Alluringly captured by Anil Mehta and brimming with the astute sense of reality, the film is in the process to make a festival career in London, Dubai, Goa and Palm strings, owing to the reputation of the director and his unbeaten artistry to forge out a legend by the actors of all the age groups.
Abiding by its plot of capturing the tassels of the society, this tale of the ever-happy Amir(Ishaan Khatter, an aficionado and Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother) and his divorced first-born, Tara (a young Malayalam actress Malavika Mohanan) have darker sides to face! Both the siblings are forever gripped into the bad and good, truth and lie, alienation and compliance.
The flick, penned down by the director along with Mehran Kashani, initiates by showcasing a longish motor scooter scene, introducing Amir and his friend who unabashedly drift delivering the drugs all around the city. They are making the money but Amir is becoming arrogant. In response, when their boss Rahul, order his men to “clip off his wings”, they hot-tip the cops, who bust the boys’ HQ. Now, following a wild goose chase amidst the beehive market, Amir is rescued by a sullen merchant Akshi, acted by a Bengali filmmaker and actor Goutam Ghose. The scene though conjures the one akin to in Slumdog Millionaire, yet the director Majidi has not outlived the expectations of capturing the sight for an astonishing detail and social critique, which despite being ubiquitous failed to dent the atrocity.
Tara, who here works for Akshi, is persistently encountered apprehensive taking his street-smart baby brother, following the exchange of some harsh words between the two. The incident indicated that it was Tara who looked after her brother after the demise of their parents in the car accident. Further,Amir being curious, questions Tara as to from where is she able to afford a small one-bedroom apartment despite her meager income, to which she retorts that her boss had advanced her some financial assistance.
Now, portraying a yet different scenario, the scene switches to the point where her proclaimed good boss tries to rape her. She frantically tries to defend herself and ends up hitting him with a rock. The entire scene is pictured in the silhouette, trailing the hanging sheets.
Post Tara’s arrest, the movie now modulates back and forth, depicting Tara’s affliction at one end and Amir’s endless efforts to release her sister on the other. The lewd merchant from here on is seen confined to the walls of his hospital room, where he’s lingering over life and death. If he relinquishes life, it will result into Tara’s imprisonment. So, Amir undesirably takes care of the lecherous merchant, by looking after his expenses of medicine and treatment. Later on, after the hailing of the merchant’s family, including an aged mother and young daughters from South, he is bound to look after them too. In the process, he though transforms into a good man, but is still seen brooding over selling the merchant’s 10 year old daughter to a brothel.
In the same while, taking the road of atonement, Tara too befriends a young boy , whose ill mom ( Tannishtha Chatterjee of Brick Lane and Lion) turns out to be a lifer. Though briefly described, its no shock that she has murdered her alcoholic husband, who would beat her and even hailed other women to their home.
Swaying away from the melodramatic plot of the movie, the casts have outshone their performances. Enthusiastically led by the ruffled-haired lad, Khattar, seems to have a promising career ahead of him via his outstanding performance in the film. Mohanan, being her first Hindi language film, has done justice to her role, besides too agile to fly off the handle to be his less than innocent sibling. Ghose on the other hand, being covered with bandages and laying on the bed, conveys, laments and penitences, through his eyes alone.
Ingeminating the harsh truth of the society, encircling the good and evil, the cinematographer Mehta, has laid out the artistry of the shades of grey beautifully, portraying India’s mind-rumbling contrasts. AR Rehman has also dignified the plot with his presence, similar to the one in the (Slumdog Millionaire, Raavan), however, the critics claiming it to be overused and prying!
Production companies: Zee Studios, Namah Pictures
Cast:Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan, Goutam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Dwani Rajesh
Director: Majid Majidi
Screenwriters: Majid Majidi, Mehran Kashani
Producers: Shareen Mantri, Kishor Arora
Associate producers: Reza Tashakkori, Angarika Mantri
Co-producers: Akash Chawla, Sujay Kutty, Kanwal Kohli
Director of photography: Anil Mehta
Production designer: Mansi Dhruv Mehta
Costume designers: Payal Saluja, Bibi Zeeba Miraies
Editor: Hassan Hassandoost
Music: A. R. Rahman
Casting: Honey Trehan