Majid Majidi is evidently one of the World Cinema’s greatest storyteller, a hint of Children of Heaven (1997) is enough to know the calibre of this Persian Director. While Iran and India may have similar setting, but the innate human nature and emotions assimilate. While I haven’t read about his cultural shift to India, to me Beyond The Clouds seemed like a familial environment. But honestly, the familial environment doesn’t live up but the cinematic stroke works more than ever – I guess that’s a striking feature of a good Director.
When on the run from the cops , Amir (Ishaan Khattar) finds his estranged sister Tara (Malavika Mohanan), who in a bid to protect her brother lands up in jail. Their entire lives have been clouded by despair as unexpectedly the light shines on them from Beyond the Clouds (IMDB). While Majidi’s Children of Heaven dealt with innocence of two siblings, here, the evolution and realisation of the two siblings play a major role. Majid Majidi is a phenomenal director, his command over the cinematic language is strong which makes the film symbolical. Right from the first frame, where Amir is juxtaposed with the high-rise of Mumbai till the last shot which speaks more than words – the film shines brightly. I liked the intercuts of the Amir’s bonding and Tara’s suffering, it is something Majidi pulled me emotionally till the edge before leaving.
But, this is not Majid Majidi’s best film – this can be termed as his most mediocre film which also has cues of Bollywood cliches. Somewhere down the line, it reminds of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008) where lynching over money and power is playful, and here, eventually the human emotions and nature becomes the soul. While the film has more cons than the pros, the superficiality of the film’s narrative (might be lost in translation, since the script was originally written in Persian), the production design, dialogues and Malavika Mohanan’s acting. It has little moments which just brightly shine over the cons making them heartfelt, like the one with actress G V Sharada (who plays a Wife and Grandmother). Majidi knows how to capture the innocence of children, he breaks through. But, the overall ensemble isn’t quite promising, although ends artistically – its far from being essential.
Cinematographer Anil Mehta shoots the real locations with aesthetics and natural beauty which help the director to match his cinematic language. Just watch the beautifully shot Dhobi Ghat scenes or any of the real locations, they play an important role but the sets mar the experience. Also, when the acting department falls short – it is A R Rahman who rescues with his gooseflesh ripping (much subtle than expected) soundtrack. “Beyond The Clouds Theme” is the most astounding track heard, the story built-up gave me goosebumps. Ishaan Khattar makes a fine debut, he keeps the groove alive.
Beyond The Clouds is thematically a beautiful story, it has a humane tonality which works superiorly given the cinematic language. He makes you feel for the characters and empathise – the inner demons are suppressed. Although, not a memorable film – but from the time I left the theatre till the time you are reading this – I’m digesting the cinema and its humane nature. Majid Majidi literally took me at the edge and bewildered the heartstrings. Well, still expecting a more vital and viable film from him.
Release: 20 April, 2018
Director: Majid Majidi
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